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UPDATE: Two Men Sentenced to Prison After Opening Fire on NJSP Detective in Salem County


By: Najla Alexander 

NJ AG authorities announced the sentencing of two Cumberland County men who, along with a third gunman who was previously sentenced, opened fire at an NJSP detective during a confrontation at a Salem County mobile home park in April 2020.AdAttorney General Matthew J. Platkin said that NJSP Detective Richard Hershey, who was seriously wounded by a bullet fired by the third gunman, has since recovered and returned to duty.

Following a trial, Tremaine Hadden, 30, from Bridgeton, was convicted on May 30, 2023, of aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, riot, and weapons offenses, officials stated.

According to the evidence at trial, Hadden fired the shot that hit Detective Hershey.

He was previously sentenced on September 12, 2023, to 37 years in state prison, officials say.

Authorities say on January 24, Najzeir “Naz” Hutchings, 25, of Bridgeton, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in the shooting.

In accordance with a plea agreement with prosecutors, Hutchings was sentenced to eight years for aggravated assault and a consecutive five-year term for unlawful possession of a weapon, and officials said, as part of his plea agreement, Hutchings was required to testify at trial.

The sentence was imposed by Superior Court Judge Kevin T. Smith at the Gloucester County Courthouse in Woodbury, New Jersey.

According to officials, on December 12, 2023, Kareen “Kai” Warner, 23, also from Bridgeton, was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in the shooting.

Officials said Warner pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and, as part of his plea agreement, Warner was also required to testify at trial. 

Hutchings and Warner pleaded guilty in May 2023, officials say.

According to the evidence at trial, as well as documents filed and statements made in open court, on April 25, 2020, Detective Hershey responded to the Harding Woods mobile home park on Harding Highway in Pittsgrove to investigate a home invasion in which a woman was assaulted and robbed.

While the detective was at the scene of that crime, which had occurred several hours earlier, a hostile group of 15 people pulled up in five vehicles at approximately 10:30 p.m., intending to attack and injure a resident at the mobile home park and damage her residence, officials stated.

Authorities say the members of the caravan were armed with at least two handguns, one knife, and one bottle.

Officials said some of the suspects exited their vehicles and confronted Detective Hershey, who identified himself as a law enforcement officer and gave commands in an effort to control the intruders. Hutchings, Warner, and Hadden began firing on Detective Hershey.AdAccording to the officials, Hadden shot at Detective Hershey numerous times from one vehicle, while Hutchings and Warner shot at him from another vehicle.

Testimony from a ballistics expert demonstrated that over a dozen shots were fired at Detective Hershey, officials say.

Officials stated he was struck by one bullet in the hip and seriously wounded. Several of the bullets struck occupied homes in the vicinity, and one woman was also injured by a stray bullet.

The detective returned fire with his service weapon, and the suspects fled the scene.

Authorities say Detective Hershey has returned to duty, and he was named the NJSP’s 2020 Trooper of the Year for his dedication and courageous actions during the confrontation.

“Our police officers protect the lives of New Jerseyans each day at their own risk,” said Attorney General Platkin.

“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.” 

“We are committed to aggressively prosecuting those who target our men and women in uniform,” said Tom Eicher, Executive Director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability.Ad“We are grateful Detective Hershey survived this onslaught of gunfire and that these defendants are now serving lengthy sentences behind bars.”

“It has been almost four years since the heinous and cowardly attack on Detective Richard Hershey. 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,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.

“State troopers take an oath to protect and serve, and the sacrifices they make to prioritize the safety of others over their own should always be held in the highest regard.”