A conservative Delaware County mayor who worked on behalf of the National Rifle Association to challenge Philadelphia’s well-publicized attempts at local gun laws died in a skydiving accident Friday.
C. Scott Shields, 45, was killed around 4:30 p.m. when his main parachute did not deploy and his emergency chute failed. He landed in the trees surrounding the Cross Keys airport in Gloucester County and was pronounced dead on arrival at Underwood Memorial Hospital in Woodbury, N.J.
“Scott and I were on different sides of the gun issue, but always treated each other with respect,” said former CeaseFirePA executive director and current City Council candidate Joe Grace. “I am truly saddened.”
Shields was the acting mayor of tiny borough of Rutledge. An avid thrill-seeker and passionate attorney, his hobbies included cars, motorcycles and defending First Amendment rights.
Known for taking on politically-charged causes, the vocal Republican successfully defended the free speech of anti-abortion protesters and anti-gay activists in several high-profile cases. He also led the charge to defeat efforts aimed at giving Philadelphia the power to enact gun control legislation.
The veteran skydiver had jumped many times at Freefall Adventures, the Williamstown, N.J., facility where the fall took place. Authorities are still investigating the cause.