After finishing dinner, Sheri Walsh was scrolling through Facebook when she came across a post saying her husband, a Gloucester Township police officer, had died due to the coronavirus.
“We take COVID-19 very seriously, especially those of us in the front lines!” Walsh wrote on Facebook. “I am upset there are people out there who would take the time to make up a story like this.”
The post, marked with misspellings, surfaced Saturday on a community Facebook page saying “First GTPD officer to pass away do to covid19.″ It included a picture of Officer Craig Walsh.
Police Chief David Harkins promptly denied the post, saying Walsh was “doing just fine” and that no township police officers had died due to the virus. He asked page administrators to remove the post.
“This posting is completely FALSE,” Harkins said in a statement. “This appears to be a sick prank against the Gloucester Township community and the Gloucester Township Police Department.”
Township police officials would not say whether Walsh or any other officers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
New Jersey has been ravaged by the coronavirus, particularly the northern part of the state. On Saturday, Gov. Phil Murphy said more residents have now died from the coronavirus than from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. More than 34,000 people have tested positive in the Garden State, with an additional 846 people dying from the disease.
Earlier this week, New Jersey State Police Col. Patrick Callahan said more than 300 officers had tested positive for the disease. A Newark officer, Tolbert A. Furr, 59, died from complications due to the coronavirus Friday, NJ Advance Media reported.