This weekend you will see the United States and New Jersey flags half-staff at all state buildings and facilities in observance of the 50-year anniversary of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 337 to observe the anniversary of the murder of former Woodbine Police Chief Phillip DeSantis, who died while stopping a fleeing armed robbery suspect. On Sunday, August 6th all state buildings and facilities are ordered to play their United States of America Flags and State of New Jersey Flags at half-staff.  Here is Governor Murphy's statement from a press release about why he signed this Executive Order:

“Law enforcement officers across New Jersey put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect the people of this state and it is important to honor the sacrifice of Chief Phillip DeSantis, who dedicated his life to keeping our communities safe - A veteran of World War II, Chief DeSantis served for nearly 20 years in the police department for the Borough of Woodbine in Cape May County, where he also received the Medal of Valor from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of New Jersey. Chief DeSantis was a loving husband and uncle, whose memory lives in the hearts of his family, friends, and all law enforcement officers.”

On August 6, 1973, Woodbine Police Chief Phillip DeSantis was in the process of stopping a suspect who was fleeing from an armed robbery at a gas station.  News reports from 1973 state that John William Brown, a Woodbine resident, had murdered a gas station named Kenneth McGuire, a 42‐year‐old resident of Del Haven, and after stabbing McGuire several times then fled with a cash register. Chief DeSantis responded to the armed robbery call and confronted Brown at 5 am about a mile east of Woodbine. Brown would stab the Woodbine Police Chief, flee the scene, and leave DeSantis dying on the side of the road.  Thanks to DSantis' dying words, his description of the suspect and his White Buick, the manhunt for John William Brown quickly to his apprehension.

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