State police in New Jersey, responding to the wrong address for a 911 call, critically wounded a 76-year-old man as he stood in his own living room with a shotgun, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office said.
The state troopers thought he was a threat, and he apparently thought they were intruders.
The confusion started around 11:30 p.m. Friday with a 911 call from a cellphone near the home on Centerton Road in Cumberland County, authorities said.
The caller hung up before providing a precise location, and police later determined the call had not in fact come from the home where Gerald Sykes lives with his 80-year-old wife.
After two uniformed troopers knocked on the front door and got no response, they approached the home’s back deck, authorities said. An exchange of gunshots followed, with one of the cops firing four times through a sliding glass door and Sykes firing a single round from a shotgun, though in the darkness no one seemed to have a clear look at one another.
Sykes had grabbed his shotgun from his bedroom to confront what he thought were intruders, a family friend and attorney told NJ.com. Sykes was struck three times, and then let off a single blast, attorney Rich Kaser said.
As Sykes lay on the floor, his shirt soaked in blood, his wife tried to call 911, Kaser said.
The state troopers ordered the critically wounded man to lay face down and placed him in handcuffs, the attorney said.
The stepdaughter of Sykes, Diana LaFalce, told Fox 29 News that her mother called and explained he had been shot through the back door of the house.
Sykes was taken to Cooper University Hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition Saturday night, officials said.
The state Attorney General’s Office said that no charges have been filed as the investigation continues.