NJ state trooper recruit dies after boxing accident during training
A State Police recruit injured in a boxing match with a fellow recruit during training has died after nearly a week in the hospital.
Lucas C. Homeijer, 27, of Boonton, a member of the 161st New Jersey State Police Academy Class, was training at the Academy in Sea Girt when he was injured and lost conscioussness during an active countermeasures/boxing bout on Nov. 25.
He was hospitalized in critical condition for several days before dying Tuesday, officials said.
During a pandemic news conference with Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday, Col. Patrick Callahan, the State Police superintendent, sent his condolences to Homeijer's family, including his father and uncle, both retired troopers.
"It's one of the hardest things I've had to go through as a trooper and as a dad. I know those instructors, although it's tough training, treat every one of those recruits like their own kids," Callahan said, who appeared to choke back tears.
Callahan said Homeijer was an Eagle Scout and one of the few few attendees of trooper youth week to join the force.
"I have no doubt that Luke would have made a phenomenal New Jersey trooper," Callahan said.
Callahan said a "thorough investigation" into the incident would be conducted and noted that he was unaware of a similar incident happening in recent memory.
Homeijer attended Morris Knolls High School and was a member of the wrestling team.
"He was an exceptional young man who a great and promising career ahead of him as a New Jersey State Trooper. I had the privilege of coaching him and watching him grow up. My heart is breaking now," Rutherford firefighter Joseph Hartnett wrote on his Facebook page.