Hamburg police officer ID'd as victim killed in Wantage hunting accident

The SCDC sends condolences to Ptl. Jason Franco’s family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all after this tragic accident. We remember and thank Ptl. Franco for his service to the Borough of Hamburg.

A Hamburg borough police officer has been identified as the 38-year-old killed during an apparent hunting accident in Wantage on Tuesday, the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office said. 

Jason Franco, a patrolman with the department since 2018, was hunting with a family member in a wooded area near Havens Road when he was shot around 12:30 p.m., according to First Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Mueller.

Mueller said it was believed Franco, who lived in Montague, was fatally injured with a shotgun bullet while the duo were deer hunting. The incident occurred during the six-day portion of both the deer and bear hunt in the state.

Mueller declined to identify the family member involved. 

"It appears to just be a tragic accident," he added.

Franco was hired by by Hamburg Police's officer in charge, Lt. Jason Tangorra, and sworn into the department on April 16, 2018. 

Tangorra, when reached by email on Wednesday, said Franco previously worked as an officer with the William Paterson University Police Department.

"Jason Franco was loved by his family and his colleagues from all surrounding agencies," Tangorra said. "He came to work every day and just did his job."

"This was a complete tragedy and he will be missed."

Funeral arrangements are still being made.