Bridgeton man gets 37 years in shooting of State Police detective
A Bridgeton man was sentenced to 37 years in prison in the 2020 shooting of a State Police detective in Salem County.
Detective Richard Hershey was shot and wounded while investigating a home invasion April 25, 2020, at the Harding Woods mobile home park in Pittsgrove.
A woman was beaten and robbed in the attack.
As Hershey investigated, a hostile mob of 15 people pulled up in five vehicles at about 10:30 p.m., intending to attack and injured a resident at the mobile home park and damage her residence, according to an investigation by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), Office of Public Integrity and Accountability and the Division of Criminal Justice.
The caravan included those armed with at least two handguns, a knife and a bottle.
Some of them confronted Hershey, who identified himself as a law enforcement officer and gave commands in an effort to control the intruders.
Hadden shot at Hershey numerous times from one vehicle while two other men fired from another vehicle, according to the charges.
Testimony from a ballistics expert demonstrated that more than a dozen shots were fired at Hershey, including about 11 by Hadden alone.
Hershey was struck in the hip and seriously wounded. He returned fire, and the suspects fled the scene.
Najzeir “Naz” Hutchings and Kareen “Kai” Warner, also both from Bridgeton, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in May.
Hadden shot at Hershey numerous times from one vehicle, while Hutchings and Warner shot at him from another vehicle.
Hutchings, 25, is currently in South Woods State Prison in a Cumberland County assault and weapons case from earlier in 2020, records show.
Warner, 22, is in the Salem County Correctional Facility pending sentencing.
“It has been nearly 3½ years since the brazen ambush on Detective Richard Hershey, and this sentencing represents the culmination of our years-long pursuit for justice,” said Col. Patrick J. Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We were unrelenting in our quest to hold everyone accountable for their actions. This prison sentence sends a clear message that the shooting of a State Trooper is an attack on the very fabric of our society. Troopers are guardians of our safety, and their sacrifices will always be met with the full force of the law.”
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 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,” Attorney General Matthew Platkin said. “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.”
Division of Criminal Justice Director J. Stephen Ferketic said the sentence “sends a clear message that in New Jersey the Division of Criminal Justice will relentlessly pursue anyone who targets law enforcement officers and bring them to justice.”
Hadden must serve almost 28 years before he is eligible for parole.
“The court’s sentence in this matter removes a dangerous individual from society who clearly does not care about lawful authority or human life, and feels that the rules don’t apply to him,” OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher said.