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Man who shot N.J. officer in ‘hostile mob’ ambush sentenced to 37 years in prison

Detective Richard Hershey survived the attack, which involved three gunmen, but was seriously wounded

NJ State Trooper Richard Hershey.jpg

A man convicted of shooting a New Jersey State Police detective in Salem County in 2020 was sentenced Tuesday to 37 years in state prison, officials said.

New Jersey State Police

By Chris Sheldon

SALEM COUNTY, N.J. — A man convicted of shooting a New Jersey State Police detective in Salem County in 2020 was sentenced Tuesday to 37 years in state prison, officials said.

On April 25, 2020, Detective Richard Hershey was shot and wounded while investigating a home invasion in which a woman was beaten and robbed at the Harding Woods mobile home park on Harding Highway in Pittsgrove, according to a statement from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

The incident stemmed from derogatory comments the victim allegedly made about the family of one of her assailants, according to court documents.

While Hershey was at the scene of that crime, which had occurred several hours earlier, a hostile mob of 15 people pulled up in five vehicles at around 10:30 p.m., with the intention of attacking and injuring a resident at the mobile home park and damaging her home, the office said, The members of the caravan were armed with at least two handguns, one knife, and one bottle.

Some members got out their cars and confronted the detective, who identified himself as a police officer and gave commands in an effort to control the intruders, investigators said. Tremaine Hadden, 30, of Bridgeton, along with two others, Najzeir “Naz” Hutchings and Kareen “Kai” Warner, opened fire on Hershey.

Hadden shot at Detective Hershey numerous times from one vehicle, while Hutchings and Warner shot at him from another vehicle, officials said. Testimony from a ballistics expert demonstrated that over a dozen shots were fired at Hershey, including approximately 11 fired by Hadden alone.

The detective, who returned fire with his service weapon, was struck in the hip and seriously wounded and the suspects fled, authorities said. Several of the bullets fired by the suspects struck occupied homes in the area.

Hershey has since recovered and returned to duty, and he was subsequently named the NJSP’s 2020 Trooper of the Year for his dedication and courageous actions during the confrontation, the office said.

Hutchings and Warner, who are both from Bridgeton, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in May while Harding was previously found guilty of aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, riot and weapons-related offenses, according to the statement.

“The prison sentence given to this defendant illustrates that my office will not tolerate violence against our law enforcement professionals as they attempt to do their jobs and protect the public,” New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said in a statement. “Anyone who would brazenly shoot at an officer as he was identifying himself and giving verbal commands clearly has no respect for the law and those who enforce it. I remain grateful for Detective Hershey’s recovery and ongoing service to our great state.”

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