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11-29-07, 10:52 PM #1
Retired officer killed in the line of duty
MILLVILLE: Retired hero cop remembered as caring, giving man UPDATED 8:10 p.m.
From staff reports
MILLVILLE — The retired city police officer who reportedly kept a city man from stuffing his girlfriend into the trunk of a car was remembered Thursday as a hero and caring man who was always ready to lend a helping hand.
Carmen DeGregorio died Thursday afternoon, a little more than 36 hours after he was run down in a gas station parking lot after intervening in a domestic dispute.
The man arrested in the incident now faces felony murder charges.
Christopher Robinson, 30, already was in Cumberland County Superior Court at 2:45 p.m. Thursday to answer attempted murder and other charges when prosecutors stopped the hearing to inform Judge Richard Geiger that Carmen DeGregorio had died.
DeGregorio, 51, had been in intensive care at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Division since the incident late Tuesday night at East Main Street and Wade Boulevard. The former police officer worked nights as a dispatcher at nearby Ushler’s Towing.
DeGregorio, who retired in 2004, was married with school-age children. He had survived a heart attack while still a police officer.
Family members were at the medical center when he died, his brother Donald Cossaboon-DeGregorio said early Thursday afternoon.
The family later Thursday afternoon referred calls for comment to police Capt. Ed Grennon.
“It is tragic when someone of Officer DeGregorio’s caliber is taken from his family and the community under these circumstances,” Grennon said. “His unselfish demeanor went far beyond his role as a police officer and his passing is a loss in so many ways.”
“It’s so ironic,” Mayor James Quinn said. “After all those years as a police officer. He’s certainly a hero in my book. He put his life on the line for someone else.”
Quinn said DeGregorio’s last assignment was patrolling North High Street. The mayor said flags outside City Hall would be lowered to half-staff today.
Former Police Chief William Herman was police chief during part of DeGregorio’s career.
“He was a very fine officer and a gentleman,” Herman said. “He didn’t know anything other than to help people —and look where it got him.”
Tracy Ushler said DeGregorio came to work for her family after his retirement three years ago. “He’s like one of the family,” Ushler said.
Ushler said he was a “happy go lucky” type. “Seemed like he didn’t have a care in the world. Very outdoorsy. Give you the shirt off his back,” she said.
Ushler visited DeGregorio’s hospital room Wednesday night.
“I told him we wanted him back at work,” she said. “I don’t think he was conscious the whole time he was in the hospital.”
DeGregorio moved onto Circle Drive in 1991. He was known around the neighborhood as an upstanding man.
Neighbor John Tozer wasn’t surprised at DeGregorio’s heroism.
“Carmen was a great guy,” Tozer said. “He was a good neighbor and he was always willing to do things for other people. It didn’t make any difference who it was, Carmen would help you.”
Tozer learned of the incident Wednesday morning and then heard of DeGregorio’s passing through media reports Thursday afternoon.
“It’s just sad,” Tozer said. “He’s got a wonderful wife and two beautiful twin daughters. It’s just a shame that people like that are out on the street.”
Robinson, who appeared stunned at the turn of events during his court hearing, is being held in the county jail on $1 million bail.
According to authorities, Tuesday’s incident began at about 11:46 p.m. with a dispute between Robinson and his 24-year-old girlfriend, Shatora Denise Jenkins-Thomas.
The retired officer stepped in when he saw Robinson trying to shove the woman into the trunk of his car, according to reports. After freeing the victim, DeGregorio pushed her toward the nearby Wawa store and then ran toward the store’s gasoline pumps.
Witnesses said that is when Robinson reportedly drove his car at DeGregorio and Jenkins-Thomas.
“He ran straight at them,” county Prosecutor Ronald Casella said. “Mr. DeGregorio tried to make it to the steel bars surrounding the gas pumps, but was hit before he made it.”
Jenkins-Thomas made it to the store, where she found refuge. Robinson abandoned his car and fled on foot after trying to force a man out of another car, Casella said.
DeGregorio’s police-issue pistol was found on the ground but it had not been fired. He was permitted to carry the weapon, Casella said.
It was unclear whether DeGregorio drew that weapon during the scuffle with Robinson.
A message left at Jenkins-Thomas’ house in the 500 block of West Main Street was not returned. Police said Robinson listed the house as his address, too.
Police caught Robinson an hour later in a wooded area near Route 55 about three-quarters of a mile from the Wawa. Two officers from the Traffic Unit, assisted by state police, were at the Wawa Thursday morning.
“We are conducting a criminal investigation of an intentional act,” Grennon said. “They gathered information from the scene, took numerous measurements and are attempting to reconstruct what happened.
Store surveillance cameras recorded some of the incident. “We’re working with the state police to enhance it,” Grennon said.
Court records indicate Robinson and Jenkins-Thomas have a child. Jenkins Thomas took Robinson to court in 2006 for child support.
Robinson at the time was listed as a resident of the first block of West McNeal Street.
Jesperson said Robinson has been arrested on domestic offenses but he had never been charged with a felony.
In court before DeGregorio’s death was disclosed, Robinson spoke on his own behalf and apologized for the incident.
Geiger ordered that Robinson to surrender his passport if he makes bail. He also would be barred from out of state travel or entry to airports or train stations.
Jesperson said Robinson faces a life sentence without a chance of parole if convicted of murder. Any three of the most serious felony charges could put him behind bars for 30 years.
Funeral arrangements for DeGregorio had not been made public as of late Thursday night.
Staff writers James P. Quaranta, Miles Jackson, Joseph P. Smith and J. Staas Haught contributed to this report.No life 'til leather gunna kick some ass tonight.
11-29-07, 11:01 PM #2Corporal
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11-29-07, 11:23 PM #3
11-30-07, 12:09 AM #4
That sucks after all those years. Rest in Peace Brother
Pretty women make us BUY beer. Ugly women make us DRINK beer. --Al Bundy
11-30-07, 12:45 AM #5
11-30-07, 07:09 AM #6
Rest in peace.
11-30-07, 08:19 AM #7
Rest in Peace.
Our condolences to his family & friends."Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you."
"Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu. "
11-30-07, 10:13 AM #8
Rest now brother, we will carry your load from here.
My dad, I miss him every day.
Originally Posted by Wolven
Life is too short to wear unsexy underwear.
I am a female!!!!! LMAO
Be who you are and say what you feel.....
Because those that matter...don't mind...
And those that mind...don't matter
11-30-07, 03:01 PM #9
Rest easy with St Michael and allow the following generations to emulate your courage. Thank you for your service and dedication to your fellow beings........................Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
[George Washington (1732 - 1799)]
11-30-07, 09:48 PM #10
Once a cop..ALWAYS A COP
RIPDon't you just hate it when someone's balls are hidden so well, they can't seem to find it themselves ~ RSA
You can't avoid gossip & rude words from
people. You can't please everybody. But remember, they wouldn't bother if you meant nothing.
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11-30-07, 10:02 PM #11
That's so sad. RIP.
12-01-07, 02:23 PM #12
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