New Jersey cops arrived at the wrong address to investigate a 911 hang-up call, shooting an elderly man multiple times as he stood in his own living room.
The man had fired his shotgun at them through the door thinking they were intruders.
But only after police fired first.
An investigation conducted by New Jersey State Police has since determined the 911 call did not come from 76-year old Gerald Sykes’ residence in Cumberland County as they first believed.
“They have admitted that he was not the target,” Evelyn Zielke, Skyes’ sister said. “They made a mistake in address.”
According to police, the 911 call looked to have originated from a house on Centerton Road at 11:30 p.m., which they responded to by sending two state troopers who arrived at about 12 a.m.
When they arrived, New Jersey State Police didn’t realize the call did not come from Skyes’ Upper Deerfield Township residence and began shining flashlights through his door.
That’s when 76-year-old Gerald Skyes fired his shotgun through his door at who he believed were intruders trying to break into his home.
New Jersey State Police fired back and hit Skyes three times, shooting four rounds from a hand-gun through the innocent home owner’s sliding glass door.
Richard Kaser, a family friend and attorney, said Sykes went to get his shotgun after his wife woke him up when his dogs began barking.
When he looked out through his French doors leading to his deck, he saw the shadow of a person outside.
“He felt intruders were trying to get in and he was yelling to his wife to call 911,’ Rich Kaser told NJ.com.
“He thought there were bad people out there,” said Kaser.
Sykes was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital and is reportedly in critical but stable condition and is expected to survive.
According to DailyMail, both troopers who mistakenly responded to Sykes’ residence were taken to Inspira Medical Center in Vineland, but were treated and released.
One was treated for a graze wound from the Sykes’ shotgun or a cut from the glass.
New Jersey’s attorney general said it was later determined the call didn’t come from Mr. Sykes’ residence, but that it’s not uncommon for police to follow up on hang-up calls to err on the side of caution.
Although the initial story was that Sykes fired shots first, DailyMail reports Sykes’ friends and family stated a New Jersey State Trooper fired the first shots.
“One of the troopers shot first as Sykes stood in his living room,” according to Kaser.
Authorities stated Sykes was home with his wife at the time of the shooting.
After being shot, Sykes called his daughter, who called 911 to report her father had been shot.
Dispatchers then “facilitated Mr. Sykes coming out of his house so that he could receive medical treatment,” according to USAToday.
Kaser stated Sykes was ordered by police to come out of the house, even though he’d been shot three times and his shirt was soaked in blood as his wife assisted him out of the house.
As he exited his home, police ordered Sykes to lay face-down on the ground, and handcuffed him.
Kaser said the misunderstanding was “a tragic mistake.”