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NJ Fish and Wildlife Game Wardens Killed in the Line of Duty

Wildlife regulations help protect our wildlife resources and the habitat they depend on. The Division of Fish and Wildlife's Bureau of Law Enforcement has the responsibility of fielding Conservation Officers, formerly known as Game Wardens, to patrol the state's woods, fields and waters to enforce those regulations and educate the public about those regulations.

Aside from the demanding hours on patrol in all sorts of weather at any time of day, including weekends, holidays and nights, these dedicated officers also face greater danger than regular law enforcement personnel. Nearly everyone they encounter hunting or fishing has a knife and/or firearm in possession. Unfortunately not all people are law abiding, and some are in fact dangerous. And hours spent in vehicles, in boats and afoot expose officers to higher risks than many other occupations.

Since first being organized in 1892 (see the History of the Division of Fish and Wildlife) several officers have paid the ultimate price in the performance of their duties, some violently. The following is an accounting, and a tribute, to those officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

John C. Reinbold, Date of Death (DOD) 10/23/1913
On October 19, 1913, while responding to a complaint of illegal hunting, Warden Reinbold was searching the Greenwoods in Old Tappan Borough near the NJ/NY State Line. Warden Reinbold located the suspects and began pursuing them on foot. Warden Reinbold chased the suspects into Rockland County, NY when one of the suspects turned and fired two shots striking Warden Reinbold in the face and abdomen. Warden Reinbold died four days later at a hospital in Nyack, NY.

A massive investigation was conducted involving authorities from New York and New Jersey. One of the suspects was apprehended and questioned. This suspect implicated his hunting partner, Antonio Lettieri, who evidently fired the two fatal gunshots. It was soon discovered that Antonio Lettieri made his way back to New York City, withdrew his savings, and purchased a one way passage to his native country of Italy under another name. On December 5, 1913 a judge in Rockland County indicted Antonio Lettieri for murder in the first degree.

President Woodrow Wilson ordered his Secretary of State, William J. Bryan, to contact the Italian Government and seek the arrest of Antonio Lettieri. One individual was arrested in Italy, but Italian officials concluded that this suspect did not match the description of Antonio Lettieri. No further arrests were made in Italy or the United States. Antonio Lettieri remained at large. Upon his death, Warden Reinbold was 30 years old, a NJ Game Warden for 2 years, and was to be married the same week he was killed in the line of duty.

William Holblitzell, DOD 9/18/21
On September 18, 1921 Warden Holblitzell was investigating a wildlife complaint with a farmer in Kenilworth when he heard gunshots in the area. Warden Holblitzell left his vehicle at the farmerís residence and went into the woods to investigate the shots. Farmer John Lynch then heard two additional gunshots. When Warden Holblitzell failed to return to his vehicle, farmer Lynch notified Deputy Sheriff Ralph Lamphere. Both men conducted a search, but did not locate Warden Holblitzell.

The next day, with the help of 150 searchers, the body of Warden Holblitzell was discovered with two .22 caliber rifle rounds to the heart and groin. Local detectives investigated and concluded that Warden Holblitzell was murdered when he came across someone hunting out of season. No suspect was ever found. Warden Holblitzell was 61 years old and was a NJ Game Warden for 25 years.

Warden Alfred J Perkins and Deputy Warden Oran Gant, DOD 11/23/1946
On November 23, 1946, Warden Perkins and Deputy Gant were returning from Hackettstown Fish Hatchery. In the area of Somerville New Jersey, their patrol vehicle was struck by a dump truck. Warden Perkins and Deputy Gant were fatally injured as a result of the vehicular accident. Warden Perkins was employed as a Warden for 7 years. We are investigating the number of years Deputy Gant served.

David W. Brocker, DOD 11/16/51
On November 16, 1951 Warden Brocker along with Warden Kristiansen and Deputy Dixon were investigating illegal trapping at the Split Rock Reservoir in Morris County. Warden Brocker dropped off Warden Kristiansen and Deputy Dixon on a small island and continued on paddling in a canoe. Shortly thereafter, Warden Kristiansen heard a gunshot and a splash into the water.

When Warden Brocker failed to return at the designated time, Warden Kristiansen and Deputy Dixon swam to shore and walked a mile to the nearest house to request assistance. A search was initiated with over 200 searchers. During the search, Warden Brockerís canoe was located with blood inside. Although searchers utilized boats, divers, mine detectors, magnets, underwater grapples, amphibious trucks, airplanes, and helicopters, the body of Warden Brocker was never located. Warden Brocker was 37 years old and a NJ Game Warden for 10 years.

Amos W. Horrocks, DOD 5/26/1963
On May 26, 1963 Conservation Officer Amos W. Horrocks was patrolling in Middlesex County when he lost control of his patrol vehicle and struck a tree on Friendship Road in South Brunswick Township. Conservation Officer Horrocks was 38 years old and was a NJ Conservation Officer for years.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: June 6, 2007