76-Year-Old Home Owner Shot by State Police On Wrong 911 Call

Bob Irwin highlights the latest self defense and other shootings of the week. Read them and see went wrong, what went right and what we can learn from defense with a gun.

Gerald Sykes, seen in this undated photo, was shot and wounded by state police at his Upper Deerfield Township home late Friday night, authorities say.
Gerald Sykes, seen in this undated photo, was shot and wounded by state police at his Upper Deerfield Township home late Friday night, authorities say.
Bob Irwin
Bob Irwin

Las Vegas, NV –-(Ammoland.com)- NJ.com reported this week (7/30/2016) in Upper Darby Township, New Jersey, an elderly couple were asleep late Friday night at their Cumberland County home when their dog began barking around 11:30 p.m.

The wife woke the husband and he went into the living room. At that point, according to his attorney, the husband looked out through doors leading to a back deck and saw the shadow of a person outside.

He returned to his bedroom and got a shotgun. He felt intruders were trying to get in and he was yelled to his wife to call 911,” his attorney said.

Meanwhile, two state troopers had come to the home after mistakenly being told it was the location of a 911 hang-up call. The troopers first tried to get the attention of someone in the home by knocking on a front door and when there was no response, they went around back to the deck area.

Shots were exchanged. One trooper fired four times and the 76 year old homeowner fired his shotgun once. Authorities have not said who fired first. The attorney says a trooper fired first from outside the home as the husband stood in the living room. According to the attorney, the resident was hit three times and then he fired off one shotgun blast. That went through one of the doors, slightly injuring one trooper. The homeowner is at Cooper University Hospital and expected to survive.

The incident is being investigated by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.


So the cops arrive, see a man with a gun and fire at him or the resident sees a figure in his patio at midnight and he fires to protect himself. Hopefully the 911 call was still connected and we’ll all know who fired first.

However, that may not be a real issue. If police see someone pointing a gun at them they can certainly fire at that subject. That’s equally true for civilians when the opponent is not identifiable in the dark. But should the resident know that his wife called the police and the cops might be outside?

New Jersey State Police are known for their high training standards. If fired upon, I would expect them to dive for cover rather than shoot into a dark home. I expect the investigation will quickly sort this one out.

The solution; Call 911, use verbal warnings, stay put and wait for arriving Officers. If the bad guys come in first, then react accordingly.

Bob Irwin, The Gun Store, Las Vegas

About Bob Irwin

The writer is the owner of The Gun Store in Las Vegas and has a gun talk radio show “Fired Up with Bob Irwin” Firedup is now on KSHP 1400 am radio from 5 to 6 pm on Thursdays and at the same time also on YouTube “Fired Up with Bob Irwin.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chuck Haggard

That this sort of thing happens on the rare occasion, and not more commonly, is a shock to me, because the various BS opinions and comments in the comments thread are simply stunning…..

I’m shocked we don’t have more gun owners going to jail over stupid decisions.


Chris Christie needs to put a leash on these SOB’s and end these gestapo tactics. I hope this old man gets a pit bull of an attorney and his bank acct becomes at least 5mil.$ healthier from this. Like a previous poster said he has a long road of recovery and could very well die because of this negligence. Think how you would feel and react of this old man was your dad ! This really piss*es me off !


HOGWASH! On 3 Aug, just a week and a half ago, at about 9:30pm at night I started out my front door to get something out of my truck. About 75 feet off to my left stood two people, in my yard(3 acres), in the dark, at the far end of my house. They surprised me. They shined flashlights into my face. I moved my hand to my sidearm(did not draw but got ready to) and yelled at them “Can I help you!”. They answered back and said they were deputy sheriff’s. Now, luckily they lowered their flashlights so I… Read more »

Dave Brown

I am glad I am not any of the people involved in this one, and hopefully we will find out the truth. I believe most governments, in this case it looks like it will be the State try to hide as much of the bad information as they can, and they will drag out any settlement for as long as they can. These may have been the best officers around, yet it appears they over shot into a dark home and they really had no reason to do so. Can a Cop fire if fired upon, I say it depends… Read more »

Texas 2 Guns

“New Jersey State Police are known for their high training standards.” Really? So which part of those High training Standards include knowing how to READ the Correct Address? Add to this the fact they went creeping around IN THE DARK outside of a citizens home at 11:30 at night?? I can tell you in Texas they would have been having to call a HEARSE…..not for the homeowner but the Cop, because in TX, I have the right to blow you out of your boots if you are creeping around on my property AT NIGHT unannounced. We call that Criminal Mischief… Read more »

Greg Tag

Tex Your application of the law might get you in hot water. 9.42 says you can use deadly force to defend property in the instance of Criminal Mischief. The Law also requires such use be “Reasonable”. A cop answering a service call simply standing on your back porch is not committing criminal mischief, and no Grand Jury would ever agree that your use of force under such a circumstance was reasonable. Now if you have an unknown unidentified assailant firing at you through your window, you can return fire, but not because if anything to do with criminal mischief but… Read more »

Texas 2 Guns

You are correct in the situation YOU described there where a cop would be standing on my back porch in PLAIN VIEW PROPERLY IDENTIFYING HIMSELF AS A PEACE OFFICER. But what I was talking about is where a cop is somewhere he should not be (ie lurking around at 11:30 at night at the wrong address in the dark) and NOT identifying himself as he is walking around the property (which is SOP for most Depts.in TX)..that cop stands a good chance of getting dog bit and/or shot. The reason I said that is a situation identical to this (cops… Read more »


@Texas 2 Guns,they said how NYPD had really high training standards too. The next picture showed an NYPD SWAT officer with his Eotech installed backwards. Google it if you don’t believe me.


Of course, if the old man was black, the whole thing would be his fault.

Wild Bill

Correct me if I am mistaken, but I thought that the rightness or wrongness of a thing was based upon measuring the actions done against the law, morality, ethics, and mores of our society. And if the 76 year old homeowner had been black then the entire state of New Jersey would be irretrievably on fire.

Whiskey For My Men Beer For My Horses

If the old man would’ve been black then BLM members would’ve shut the highway down, made up some bs lies and burned the town down because the cops were racist.


You mean like the dirtbag in Chicago who got himself shot attempting to run over some cops in a stolen car but, now it is all the fault of the police. Or, perhaps, you mean like Mike Brown who tried to grab a cop’s gun after committing a robbery, got himself shot but, then, the radicals in the community burned down their neighbor’s homes and businesses in order to protest police brutality. Ditto for Baltimore. The only thing racially biased on this page is your comment.


No wonder the NJSP uniforms look as they had been designed by Hermann Goering!

Tommy Hobbes

Glad you said that. The same holds true for Mass. State Police dress uniforms: it would be funny to say they are out of Central casting, but the fact is that this is real life which uses totalitarian uniforms to intimidate. Doesn’t belong in the USA.


The uniforms are truly Graustarkian, straight from an opera buffa.

Wild Bill

I bet it will take the 76 year old homeowner a long time to recover. What a poor way to spend the last years of one’s life, recovering from a gun shot wound when you could be really enjoying your golden years. Imagine your health snached away from you in a single moment. Maybe a really large payment (the size of the NJSP’s annual budget for the coming year) might not be inappropriate!
Maybe the all of the NJSP need a one year time out in the corner to get their attention.

Barry Peppers

The NJ State Police are a hard Corp organization that puts individual civil rights in the back seat. I was stationed at McGuire AFB in the 80’s and hold the NJSP in low regard. Fourth Amendment gets little attention with NJSP. They’ll stop you and search your vehicle while you stand there and ask their PC. NJSP have little to no regard for your 2nd Amendment rights.
I’m glad to be long gone from the “Garden State”.


This crazy ass Irwin still don’t understand that he IS NOT AN ATTORNEY and does not have the authority to give legal advice. He is consistent though,consistently wrong !


It makes no difference if the homeowner fired first. The New Joysey state police shouldn’t had been there to start with.


They were there because of a previous 911 call who gave wrong location and hung up. The police had to respond.