1 dead, 1 wounded in Newark shooting

October 31, 2008 7:18:00 PM PDT
One man was shot to death and another wounded in Newark on Friday, the fifth fatal shooting in the city in the past two weeks. Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy said the pair were attacked on a pathway at the Pilgrim Baptist Village housing complex at about 3:45 p.m.

ElDonte Stile, a 34-year-old Newark man who authorities said had a lengthy criminal record, was shot in the head and taken to University Hospital in Newark, where he died a short time later.

The other victim, a 27-year-old Newark man, was hospitalized in serious condition with a stomach wound.

McCarthy said Stile was talking with the suspected shooter moments before the attack, but it wasn't clear if the second victim was intentionally targeted. Overall, the gunman apparently fired six shots.

The shootings were the latest in a series of incidents in the city in recent weeks. Four people have been killed and two wounded within a 10-block radius of the housing complex since Oct. 17.

"Halloween has been canceled," said Terrie Jones, 48, as she watched police process the crime scene in the complex where she lives. Jones' arms were wrapped around her 8-year-old son Christian, who was standing in front of her.

"It's messed up," said Christian, who was on his way home to don his costume when the shootings occurred Friday.

When compared with the same time periods from last year, shootings are down in Newark for both the past 28 days and the past week, McCarthy said. For example, there have been three shootings in Newark this week, compared with five a year ago.

The city is now on pace to have the fewest homicides since 2000, when there were 59. Friday's fatal shooting brings the number this year to 54, compared with 99 overall killings in 2007 and 104 in 2006.

"There is no indication that this is related to any of the other (recent) incidents that have occurred," McCarthy said. "The disputes that occur that result in violence in this city - 99 percent of the time they revolve around narcotics."

Concern over gun violence in Newark led suburban high schools in Parsippany, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Cranford and Roselle to cancel scheduled football games in Newark the past week before reconsidering. The catalyst was a trio of shootings Oct. 24 within 10 blocks of the Pilgrim Baptist Village complex that left two people dead and a third wounded. And a South Orange man was fatally shot in the area on Oct. 18.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine and Newark Mayor Cory Booker attended the football game between Newark Central and Roselle on Thursday in a bid to ease concerns about safety.

However, many residents remain wary of the violence.

Olivia Harris, 63, a Pilgrim Baptist Village resident, said no one in her community feels any safer. She said the recent shootings have left her and her neighbors living in fear.

"It's like the wild, wild West," Harris said.

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