Seven shot, three dead in Newark

December 23, 2010 8:18:59 PM PST
Two separate shootings in Newark on Thursday afternoon left three people dead and four others wounded.

It was an especially deadly night Thursday in Newark.

On Avon Avenue at about 4:30 p.m., someone opened fire shooting five people, killing 2 of them.

They were later identified as 16-year-oldo Allen Best and 16-year-old Jarid Smith, both of Newark.

Then at about 6 p.m., more gunfire occurred about five minutes away.

This time, one man was shot and injured, and another man, 30-year-old Rodney Shacor Kearney of Newark, was shot and killed.

"This isn't the usual spike in crime," Walter Melvin, a Newark Police Detective and police union leader said.

He says he and the other four detectives agreed to talk to Eyewitness News because they believe recent police department layoffs are crippling crime fighting efforts.

"We believe these are from the layoffs, they're taking advantage of what they feel are a limited amount of police officers in the city," Melvin said.

But city officials counter that Newark was having a tough year fighting crime statistically, even before the layoffs.

Over the last year, murder is up 4%, robbery is up 16%, and shooting incidents have spiked 13%.

"We had a bad summer as far as the murder rate goes and we had those 167 cops at that time. In the last two months the murder rate has dropped dramatically," said Police Director Garry McCarthy.

But on Thursday night, 3 more names have been added to the list of Newark murder victims, giving those who believe the layoffs made the city less safe ammunition.

"The numbers do not lie, these incidents are happening, the numbers do not lie," Melvin said.

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