Police-Involved Shooting in Upper Deerfield Under Investigation

The Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a police-involved shooting overnight in Upper Deerfield Township, Cumberland County, involving the New Jersey State Police.

A trooper exchanged gunfire with a resident, who was wounded in the exchange.

According to the preliminary investigation, police dispatchers received a 911 call from a cell phone shortly before 11:30 p.m. last night, but the caller hung up before contact was made. An attempt was made to trace the cell phone so that officers could check on the well-being of the caller, and the call appeared to have been placed from the address where the shooting occurred in the 300 block of Centerton Road in Upper Deerfield Township. That was later determined to be incorrect, but at the time, two state troopers from the State Police Bridgeton Station responded to the address to see if assistance was needed.

Two uniformed troopers arrived at the residence shortly before midnight in separate vehicles.

They approached the single family residence, which is in a rural area and is set well back from the road. The troopers approached the home and knocked in an attempt to communicate with the occupants, who were later determined to be Gerald Sykes, 76, and his wife. The shooting occurred after the troopers approached a sliding glass door in the rear of the residence and knocked, shining flashlights into the home and announcing that they were responding to a 911 call. At that time, there was an exchange of gunfire through the sliding glass door in which one of the troopers fired four rounds from his service 9mm handgun and Gerald Sykes fired a single round from a shotgun.

Mr. Sykes, who was struck by multiple rounds, retreated into the house. The occupants and their daughter, whom they contacted by phone, called 911, and 911 dispatchers facilitated Mr. Sykes coming out of his house so that he could receive medical treatment.

He was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where he was reported to be in critical but stable condition.

One of the troopers suffered a graze wound from the shotgun or from flying glass from the shotgun blast. Both troopers were treated at Inspira Medical Center in Vineland and later released.

No further details of the shooting are being released at this time because of the ongoing investigation.

The incident is being investigated by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team.

Under Attorney General Directives, the Shooting Response Team, made up of deputy attorneys general, detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, and detectives of the State Police Major Crime Unit, are dispatched to the scene to handle investigations of shootings involving state troopers or officers employed by county prosecutors as detectives/investigators or members of county SWAT teams and task forces.