Rutledge mayor, 45, dies in skydiving accident

Scott Shields

"This is a good place to be," C. Scott Shields posted on his Facebook page Tuesday, with the photo you see to the right.

This afternoon, Shields, the 45-year-old mayor of tiny Rutledge Borough in Delaware County, died in a skydiving accident in Monroe Township, N.J., according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office. Officials say he apparently didn't deploy his main parachute and the automatic emergency chute never inflated.

Shields, a self-described "adrenalinaholic," was a staunch, red-meat Republican attorney who had challenged Philly's gun laws on behalf of the National Rifle Association. A gun-toting social conservative, his lawyerly brand of Bible-thumping drove Delco's liberal Democrats absolutely nuts. He knew how to push their buttons like nobody else.

I had a beer with Scott and another reporter at the Frontier Saloon a few years ago. I think we were supposed to be talking about a potential news story, but we ended up getting kind of sloshed. He was a true love-him-or-hate-him type who was just fun to argue with. I agreed with Scott on some issues, disagreed on others, and I don't think he changed my opinion about a damn thing that night, but he was one of those characters who make Delaware County interesting.

Additional coverage from the Delaware County Daily Times here. The full press release from the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office, which went out about an hour ago:

Re.: Skydiver dies in Monroe NJ jump

Carter Scott Shields, age 45, an attorney in Media PA and mayor of the Borough of Rutledge in Delaware County PA, died while skydiving Friday afternoon (3/25) in Monroe Township, Gloucester County NJ when his main parachute failed to open, according to preliminary findings by detectives with the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.

Shields was said to be a regular skydiver. He flew Friday from Freefall Adventures, 300 Dahlia Ave., Williamstown NJ. before his jump. He landed about 4:25 p.m. in a wooded area near the Freefall property. He had been jumping with other skydivers. Shields was pronounced dead upon arrival at Underwood Memorial Hospital, Woodbury NJ.

Shields apparently did not deploy his main parachute, and witnesses said his emergency chute, which opens automatically, never fully inflated.

Detectives with the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office will meet Saturday (3/26) with representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration so they can inspect Shields' parachute and rig.