NJ gunmen get prison for shooting at state trooper wounded in Pittsgrove
Another two men have been sentenced to prison for their roles in an ambush situation that left a State Police detective wounded in Salem County, nearly four years ago.
State Police Detective Richard Hershey was seriously wounded during the confrontation at a mobile home park in April 2020. He has since recovered and returned to duty.
Najzeir “Naz” Hutchings and Kareen “Kai” Warner each accepted plea deals last year and both testified at the trial of the third shooter — all three men were from Bridgeton.
Last year, 30-year-old Tremaine Hadden was sentenced to 37 years in prison, after being convicted of aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, riot, and weapons offenses.
On Jan. 24, the 25-year-old Hutchings was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in the shooting — eight years for aggravated assault and a consecutive five-year term for unlawful possession of a weapon.
On Dec.12, 2023, the 23-year-old Warner was sentenced to seven years in prison for aggravated assault.
Trooper investigating crime confronted by angry group
Hershey had responded to the Harding Woods mobile home park in Pittsgrove the night of April 25, 2020, to investigate a home invasion hours earlier, in which a woman was assaulted and robbed.
While the detective was at the scene, a hostile group of 15 people pulled up in five vehicles.
The members of the caravan were armed with at least two handguns, one knife, and one bottle.
Some of the individuals exited their vehicles and confronted the detective, who identified himself as law enforcement.
Hutchings, Warner, and Hadden all opened fire — a ballistics expert testified that over a dozen shots were fired.
All three men were among 14 people indicted on charges in July 2021.
The remaining suspects were charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and third-degree rioting, while some were also charged with weapons offenses.
The detective did return fire with his service weapon, as the group finally fled — but was struck by one bullet in the hip and seriously wounded.
Hershey was named the 2020 Trooper of the Year, for his dedication and courageous actions during the confrontation.
“It has been almost four years since the heinous and cowardly attack on Detective Richard Hershey,” State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan said in a written release. “This sentencing is a testament to the relentless pursuit of justice for Detective Hershey and every state trooper who puts their life on the line daily to keep our communities safe.”
State Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in the same release, “These defendants brazenly shot at a detective who was trying to protect a member of the public. If you shoot at a police officer, we will seek to hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”