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Police Shooting of NJ Homeowner Under Investigation

Updated article from, written by Michael Boren (8/27/16)

“A series of miscommunications among dispatchers on a 911 call may have caused New Jersey state troopers to erroneously respond to a rural South Jersey home, where one shot a 76-year-old man who feared the troopers were intruders.

Gerald Sykes, who walked into his living room with a shotgun, had not called 911. Someone else had.

According to a recording provided Thursday by Cumberland County officials, who described it as “with respect to the Sykes incident,” the 911 call was made elsewhere in the county that night, by a man who wanted police to remove a cousin from his home to prevent a fight.

Cumberland County’s emergency dispatch center, which answered the call, transferred it to the state police.

But another agency also was inadvertently sent details on the call: Vineland, a city within the county that has its own dispatch center. Full Article on


Originally from, written by Chris Palmer

“His dog was barking, and his wife was worried.

So Gerald Sykes, leery of what appeared to be people wandering around his property in Upper Deerfield Township, N.J., about 11:30 p.m. Friday, got out of bed, loaded his shotgun, and walked toward the back of his house, according to Rich Kaser, a longtime family friend.

As Sykes took stock of his surroundings near a set of French doors, the 76-year-old was hit by three bullets through the glass, Kaser said.

After firing a shell while falling backward, Kaser said, Sykes retreated to the bedroom he shares with his wife in a panic, bleeding, calling 911, and screaming that he was going to die.

“He thought they were coming in to get him and his wife,” Kaser said.

Not until Saturday afternoon did Sykes, recovering at Cooper University Hospital, learn that he had been shot by police.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office is investigating, having acknowledged that a New Jersey State Police trooper fired four shots into Sykes’ home on the 300 block of Centerton Road. Officers responded to the Cumberland County property, mistakenly believing that a disconnected 911 call had originated there, prosecutors said. They have not said whether the officer or Sykes fired first.”


“They also have not said why the officer fired at all, saying simply that “there was an exchange of gunfire” after the officers approached the doors and shined flashlights into the home, announcing that they were responding to a 911 call.

Prosecutors said that they would release no further details about the shooting because of the ongoing investigation.

Kaser said that the family was considering a lawsuit, but that the couple, while scarred, were “not angry at police.”

Sykes “did what any person would do” upon learning of potential intruders, Kaser said. “Somebody [else], it appears, overreacted.”

In this story, like Tim Farrow’s case from 2014, the issues of self-defense, protecting your home, and firearm possession are the central themes. Self-defense laws in New Jersey can be extremely confusing with various sections and interpretations of criminal responsibility vs self-defense, with the use of force in defense of premises or personal property being perhaps the most complicated. 

Speak to an Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney

See the full article at