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Hero Down: Somerset County Officer Ahmed Mackey Dies After On-Duty Heart Attack

Somerville, NJ – Somerset County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) Officer Ahmed Mackey died in the line of duty on Sunday after suffering an apparent heart attack, according to his department.

The 50-year-old officer had just begun his shift and was in the county municipal garage when the medical emergency struck just before noon, MyCentralJersey reported.

Officer Mackey was short of breath and began yelling for help, so his fellow officers rushed to his side to render aid, the Bridgewater Patch reported.

“When the officers got to him, he already ended up collapsing and they began CPR,” Somerset County Sheriff Darrin Russo told the paper.

Officer Mackey was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, where he was pronounced dead, MyCentralJersey reported.

“It is with our deepest sympathies to announce the passing of Somerset County Sheriff’s Officer Ahmed Mackey,” the SCSO said in a Facebook post on Monday. “Officer Mackey was absolutely loved at our agency and will be forever missed. Ahmed will be remembered for being an amazing father, friend and coworker who had the purest of hearts. Rest In Peace brother. Your brothers and sisters have it from here.”

Officer Mackey’s law enforcement career began in 1993, when he was hired as a provisional sheriff’s officer with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, MyCentralJersey reported.

He graduated from the Somerset County Police Academy in August of 1994, and went on to serve seven years with Conrail and Norfolk Southern Railway Police.

Officer Mackey joined the MCSO in January of 2001.

He began serving as a school resource officer at Somerset County Vocational and Technical School the following year, according to MyCentralJersey.

“He had a very contagious laugh, a laugh that everyone remembered him by, and he always looked to the bright side of things,” SCSO Detective Brendan Gattone said. “He was a very positive person. He loved working with kids.”

Officer Mackey also coached the school’s boys’ basketball team, and positively impacted countless lives during his decades of public service.

“You mention his name, and everybody knows who you are talking about,” Det. Gattone told MyCentralJersey. “He loved kids in the community. He was a very caring guy, a happy-go-lucky guy.”

Officer Mackey was also a beloved member of the MCSO.

“Mackey has a lot of very close friends at the sheriff’s office. We don’t just work together, we consider ourselves family,” Det. Gattone said. “And this hits home very hard.”

Somerset County Vocational and Technical School Athletics Supervisor Jaime Morales said Officer Mackey donated a ton of his off-time to the students, MyCentralJersey reported.

“He never said ‘no,’” Morales noted. “He was a great coach and he was very close to our students. Our students looked up to him as a role model. They were really close to him.”

Officer Mackey took students on visits to colleges, and also got them involved in an annual toy drive he organized.

“He wanted to show his basketball players that if you have, you should always share and give to the less fortunate,” Morales explained.

Officer Mackey, Morales, and two other MCSO officers established the school’s Law and Public Safety Program in 2007 in order to assist students interested in public service careers, MyCentralJersey reported.

“He did a lot for our school,” Morales said. “He was very busy here. We are going to definitely miss him. It is just shocking.”

Officer Mackey had recently been assigned to the MCSO’s Public Relations Unit, was a member of the Hate Crime Bias Unit, and was president of the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Association, MyCentralJersey reported.

He leaves behind his daughter, Ary, as well as his mother and brother, according to the paper.

A fundraising page established to help establish a college tuition fund for Ary has raised over $12,000 so far.

“Officer Mackey and his daughter did everything together. They were very, very close,” Det. Gattone told MyCentralJersey. “She meant the world to him and vice versa. They were a great pair together.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Officer Ahmed Mackey, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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