Tragedy Strikes During the Holidays

The story about the tragic death of Officer Shawn Carson and his partner, Officer Robert Nguyen, who were members of the Jersey City Police Department, has been all over the news over the holidays.  The officers were responding to a call by bridge operators concerning a problem with the bridge signals.  After placing flares on the bridge roadway, and not being aware the bridge was open, they drove their emergency service vehicle over the fog-shrouded drawbridge where the vehicle plunged into the Hackensack River below.  Both officers died in the crash.

 Officer Carson was well known for his coaching and volunteer work with the Gladiators Track Club of Hudson County.  Club President Jesse Jackson praised Carson's abilities as a coach, spirited athlete, and frequent volunteer.

Shawn Carson will be missed by all of us in the running community, please remember him and Officer Nguyen in your prayers.

Article from the Jersey Journal below... 


Elite runner Carson always eager to help kids improve

Tuesday, December 27, 2005



Friends remembered Jersey City Police Officer Shawn Carson as a funny, warm-hearted cop who loved running and coaching when he wasn't on the job.

Carson, 40, a 16-year veteran of the police force, was killed Sunday night when his Emergency Services Unit truck plunged off an open draw bridge into the Hackensack River. His body was recovered about two hours later.

Tyrone Reynolds, a former partner, remembered Carson as "a happy-go-lucky guy."

"He always had a smile on his face," said Reynolds, who graduated from the police academy with Carson and rode a patrol car with him in the early 1990s.

"He lived only a couple of blocks away from the (North) precinct," Reynolds said. "I remember he'd ask the captain if he could go back home because he forgot something. The captain would ask him what he forgot and he'd say, 'I forgot my gun!' It would always crack us up."

Carson and Reynolds also were among the "Jersey City 10," a group of black cops who sued the city 15 years ago after Mayor Gerald McCann's attempted to fire them as part of a larger layoff. The Jersey City 10 argued the layoffs violated a mandate that the city hire more minority officers, and as a result of the lawsuit, some, but not all, of the 50 cops had to be rehired.

Reynolds also remembered Carson as one of the fastest recruits at the police academy, particularly in the 100-yard dash. "No one could touch him in the 100," Reynolds said. "He used to run every day at Pershing Field. He loved to run."

Carson also coached, working as a volunteer with the Gladiator Track Club of Hudson County.

"Shawn had a knack for bringing out the best in people," said Jesse Jackson, president and head coach of the youth mentoring club.

"He could see how nervous the kids were standing at the starting line, but he put his arm around them and would talk to them for a minute and it was if they had a big 'S' on their chests. A kid would go from being a scared little child to Superman."

Carson joined the Gladiators soon after the group formed in 1995. Despite the police officer's hectic schedule, Carson always found time to coach the kids at least once a week, Jackson said.

Off the field, Carson participated in workshops and most recently played Santa for preschool children at the Booker T. Washington public housing complex in Jersey City, Jackson said.

"Shawn was a big kid, that's why they could relate to him," he said. "He wasn't loud and boisterous. He would talk to them nice and calm."

Carson continued to excel as an athlete. In 2001, he won the 800-meter relay for the Gladiators, nearly capturing the national record in the age 30 to 39 division.

"For his age group, Shawn was one of the best runners on the East Coast," Jackson said. "If he could have focused on running and not work, he could have been one of the best runners in the country. The track world in the community has definitely lost an important figure."

Carson also found time to help coach track-and-field students at St. Peter's Prep.

"He was generous with sharing his knowledge and experience," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, whose son, Jerramiah, worked closely with Carson during his two years at Prep. "All the kids that ran track would wind up at Lincoln Park, so they all ran into each other and Shawn helped everyone."

Everything within  1997-2005 USATF-NJ.  Do not copy or repost information or images without the consent of USATF-NJ.
page updated 01/03/06