Township Police Officer Honored By Somerset County 200 Club

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Franklin Township Police Office Robert Brown, left, and his wife, Alison, at the 200 Club of Somerset County award luncheon.

Township police officer Robert Brown found himself in a fight for his life on Aug. 13, 2013 when a burglary suspect nearly shot and killed him.

The two were involved in a violent struggle at the rear of St. Matthias Church on John F. Kennedy Boulevard after Brown stopped the man, later identified as Archie L. Ashley, because Ashley fit the description of a man who had tried to break into a Buttonwood Drive home.

During the struggle, according to police, Ashley managed to remove Brown’s service revolver from its holster and, pointing it at the 31-year-old officer, told him he was going to kill him.

Relying on his police and Marine Corps training, however, Brown grabbed the gun and pointed it away from himself as Ashley allegedly pulled the trigger.

The struggle continued until backup officers arrived, police said. Another shot was fired before the gun could be wrenched from Ashley’s hand and Ashley placed under arrest.

The Somerset County 200 Club – an organization founded to provide “necessary financial assistance to the widows, children and families who are left with little or no support when a Police Officer, Fire Fighter, Rescue Squad member, or State Trooper is seriously injured or loses their life in the line of duty,” according to its Web site – honored Brown and 15 other first responders for their efforts during a luncheon may 21 at the Neshanic Valley Golf Course in Neshanic.

Brown, a 6 1/2-year veteran of the township force, said he was “honored” to be recognized by his department and the organization.

“I really appreciate my department for putting me in for it,” he said. “It’s one of those things that you don’t see coming, It sounds cliché, but you’re just doing your job.”

Brown was joined at the luncheon by Alison, his wife of five years. The couple have two children, Mason, 3 1/2 and Harper, 15 months.

Brown said that after the altercation, “the biggest thing I felt was thankful that I was able to handle the situation and get home safely to my family, and that everyone who came to help me got there quickly and got home safe.”

Alison Brown said it was “wonderful that he would get an award for just being Bobby.”

“He’s always been a stand-up guy, an awesome Marine, an awesome dad, an awesome police officer,” she said. “He always gives 100 percent.”

Township Police Chief Lawrence Roberts said in a statement that “Officer Brown’s swift and decisive actions combined with the immediate response of the available back up officers allowed for the positive outcome of this incident.  If any one of those factors were different, we could be talking about a very different and tragic outcome.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of all of the men and women of the Franklin Township Police Department,” Roberts said.

Ashley was indicted in November 2013 on five counts of 1st Degree attempted murder, 1st Degree disarming a police officer, 2nd Degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, 3rd Degree resisting arrest, burglary, theft and criminal mischief.

Ashley remains in custody in the Somerset County Jail, Somerville, in lieu of $1 million bail, no cash option.

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