Wave of shootings hits Newark

April 22, 2008 8:27:32 PM PDT
Violence erupted in New Jersey's largest city Monday night and Tuesday, leaving two people dead and six others more wounded in separate shootings. The latest victim was shot in the chest near a high school Tuesday night.

Eyewitness News reporter Carolina Leid has more.

The city enjoyed a six-week stretch with no homicides. But now, it's a violent end to that rare stretch.

As a police helicopter shined a spotlight, searching for a suspect, officers set up police tape near Malcolm X. Shabazz High School.

Authorities say one person was shot in the chest at 27 Johnson Avenue.

There have been five incidents in which eight people were shot in just the last 24 hours. Two people were killed, which brings this year's homicide count to 16, compared to 26 this time last year.

Newark Police director Garry McCarthy says the spike is tough to take.

"We had a day last year, nine people shot in april," he said. "I'm not saying that this is good. It's bad, don't get me wrong, but you need to take your success step by step by step. And overall, we're going in then right direction."

Meanwhile, three people were shot late Tuesday morning on one of Newark's busiest streets, sending bystanders fleeing for cover. About 12 hours earlier, two men were fatally shot and police said they may have shot each other.

The shootings late Tuesday morning occurred on Bloomfield Avenue, one of the city's main east-west arteries.

According to police, a woman and man were struck in the face and a second man was struck in the leg. The second man was treated and released from University Hospital in Newark.

McCarthy said the two people shot in the face did not suffer life-threatening injuries and were in stable condition.

McCarthy said two of the victims were shot while walking on a sidewalk, while a third was coming out of a store nearby. He said at least six shots were fired, and several shell casings were discovered in the street and on the sidewalk.

No motive or relationship between the victims was established, and McCarthy would not say how many suspects police were looking for or whether the shootings were believed to be random. Police were looking for a dark-colored Honda Accord that sped from the scene, but would not say whether the car was involved in the shootings.

Tuesday morning's shooting followed a string of shootings in the area in the past several days.

Police believe two 18-year-old men shot and killed each other Monday night in Newark. Their bodies were found less than a half mile from each other.

Newark police identified the victims/suspects as 18 year-old Markquez Brown, of Irvington, who was found at 15 Salem Street after he was shot in the leg, and 18-year-old Sharif Daniels, of Newark.

Daniels was found lying in the street in front of 176 Smith Street, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the face. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office and Newark Police Department believe the two individuals were involved in an exchange of gun fire that ultimately resulted in their deaths.

In Irvington, which borders Newark, three shootings that took place within minutes of each other early Sunday left a Rutgers University student dead and two people injured, including a police sergeant. Shaquan Johnson, 27, of Newark was arrested several hours later and was charged with aggravated assault and weapons offenses.

Two nights earlier, five people were shot and three others stabbed in four separate incidents in Irvington.