Second man charged with shooting at state trooper
A second person has been charged with firing at a State Police trooper on Saturday night as the trooper investigated an earlier violent home invasion.
Trooper Richard Hershey was at the Harding Woods mobile home park while wearing plain clothes and driving an unmarked police vehicle when a caravan of five cars approached him and several people got out, surrounding the trooper about 10:40 p.m., Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.
The members of the group are linked to the alleged assailants in the home invasion — a group of five women who have also been charged, Grewal said.
Hershey identified himself as law enforcement and told the group to get back into their vehicles and to leave, Grewal said. Nut as one of the vehicles drove off, shots were fired, hitting Hershey in the upper leg, Grewal said. Hershey returned fire, and the vehicles fled, according to the attorney general.
Tremaine M. Hadden, 27, of Bridgeton was inside one of the vehicles that approached Hershey and fired at the trooper, according to Grewal. Hadden, arrested Thursday was charged with first-degree attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of a weapon as a convicted felon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Najzeir “Naz” Hutchings, 21, of Bridgeton was arrested earlier in the week, also accused of shooting at Hershey, and faces charges of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.
Another two members of the group — 19-year-old Kareen "Kai" Warner and 18-year-old Colby Opperman, were armed with guns, according to the attorney general. Both were charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.
The Salem County Prosecutor’s Office has charged five women, ranging in age from 22 to 52, with the home invasion robbery and the Attorney General’s Office charged three men, all from Bridgeton, in connection with Hershey's shooting.
The five women – later identified as 22-year-old Iramari Lazu and her 43-year-old mother, Yomari Lazu, as well as 32-year-old Jazmin Valentin, 39-year-old Maria Betancourt and 52-year-old Mayra Roblero – forced entry into the residence of a woman, beat her up and stole her iPhone, Grewal said.
Betancourt is a Vineland resident, while the other four women are from Bridgeton.
A woman in the caravan, who was not facing charges as of Tuesday afternoon, was injured during the gunfire and was treated for a leg wound, the attorney general said.
Opperman was ordered detained in jail pending trial following a hearing on Thursday. Hutchings, Warner and the five women have their detention hearings on May 6. No detention hearing has been scheduled for Hadden, who is being held at the Salem County Jail.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan noted the announcement of Harren's arrest was made on Survivors Day, "a day in which we honor the 75 Troopers who made the ultimate sacrifice."
Hershey remained hospitalized at Cooper University Hospital in Camden following surgery and is in stable condition, according to Callahan.
“I will be forever grateful that on this Survivors Day, instead of grieving a fallen trooper, I am able to inform the public that we have apprehended a suspect who poses a grave danger to our State Troopers and society," Callahan said.
Grewal said the investigation is ongoing.
Previous reporting by Erin Vogt was included in this report
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