On August 23, 1989, South Orange Police Officer John Monsees was shot in the line of duty. Monsees suffered a gun shot wound to the chest while pursuing a suspect in a burglary home invasion. Members of the South Orange Rescue Squad responded, treating Monsees and transporting him to University Hospital in Newark. Monsees’ wife Margaret was one of the EMTs who responded to the call, not yet realizing that her husband was the victim.
Three hours of surgery were needed to repair Monsees’ punctured lung. The bullet had missed his heart by one centimeter. Five months later, Monsees returned to active duty on the SOPD where he continues to serve.
The suspects were ultimately apprehended and convicted.
The incident was dramatized in a Rescue 911 episode narrated by William Shatner (see below).
Since Monsees’ shooting, no other South Orange police officer has been shot in the line of duty, according to Sgt. Adrian Acevedo.
From Sgt. Adrian Acevedo:
On this date, 30 years ago. South Orange Police Officer John Monsees was shot in the line of duty.
Officer Monsees responded to a Hamilton Road address on a call of a burglary in progress, in which two suspects tied up the homeowners.
Upon arrival, Officer Monsees gave foot pursuit to one of the fleeing suspects and engaged in a physical confrontation with him in a rear yard on Holland Road. During the confrontation Officer Monsees was shot and nearly lost his life.
A testament to the calibre of men and women of the South Orange Police Department, Officer Monsees, after a full recovery, returned to the serve the community with honor. We are proud to say, he is still on duty to this very day.
We acknowledge the sacrifice that Officer Monsees put forth on that summer evening thirty years ago and thank him for his unwavering service ever since.