A violent Thanksgiving weekend in New Jersey's largest city, which had multiple shots-fired incidents that connected on several individuals -including two children- ended with a shooting that injured a male in Newark South Ward on Sunday afternoon.
According to police, a gunman arrived in the 600 block of Hunterdon Street and began to fire in the direction of a male shortly before 3:30 p.m.
Newark South Ward police units arrived at the scene and searched for a black male suspect who was wearing dark clothing.
Police say the victim was transported to University Hospital for treatment.
Newark authorities are looking into two other shootings that struck children over the weekend. According to Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose, a 12-year-old child inside his Newark Central Ward home was struck by gunfire after shooters exchanged gunfire in the 80's block of 17th Avenue on Friday night. A single bullet smashed through the window of the child's home and struck him, according to Newark Police.
Director Ambrose, angered by the incident, voiced his concern about illegal guns running rampant in Newark.
“Thankfully, the young man is going to be okay,” Director Ambrose said. “He is very lucky to be alive. We recovered the vehicle involved, unoccupied. Our shooting detectives are actively following leads.”
“I’m outraged at the number of illegal handguns that are used to commit violence on our streets,” Ambrose added. “We have recovered 450 illegal firearms this year, surpassing the number of guns we took off the streets last year, but guns are still too easily accessible from other states.”
Less than 24-hours after the child was shot, residents frantically dialed 911 after they heard over a dozen rounds of gunfire erupt near the intersection of Avon Avenue and South 10th Street.
Fast responding police officers arrived at the scene and found a male victim lying in the middle of the street suffering multiple bullet wounds throughout his body.
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office said the victim, Mr. Corey Thompson, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officials said two masked gunmen exited a mini-van and ambushed Thompson while he attempted to get inside a vehicle near the intersection.
”He never saw the suspects approach or shoot him,” officials said.
According to officials, the assassination-style murder had the gunmen carelessly fire multiple rounds at Thompson while he laid on the ground, in broad daylight. The Essex County Prosecutor's Office has taken over the investigation into Thompson's murder and is on the search for his killers.
Director Ambrose contributed the violent murder to the escalating number of illegal guns in the city.
“Often, these guns have been stolen from people who own them legally. And, COVID-19 isn’t helping, with the early release of offenders who are now re-offending,” he said.
At approximately 8 p.m. Saturday, police responded to reports of shots fired that rang out in the 800 block of South 15th Street, sending police to the scene to investigate. Upon arrival, police found a 14-year-old girl suffering a bullet wound in her leg at that location. It is not immediately clear if the girl was the intended target of the shooting.
Police said the suspect fled the scene and remain at-large.
Public records showed Newark officers' valiant effort to remove over a hundred illegal guns from city streets in 2020 and arrested dozens of suspects who were wanted for violent crimes while in possession of firearms.
“We will do our part and continue arresting these individuals, but it’s bizarre that so many firearms end up in the wrong hands. When a child gets shot in one of our neighborhoods, that’s when we all should be up in arms,” Director Ambrose said.
Community activists in the city continue to encourage residents to monitor male relatives who live in their homes -who they say- possess weapons and are using these residences to store their guns.
"Part of the problem is that their sons, nephews, and cousins have these guns in the homes and they are not helping in curbing the violence by questioning male relatives or doing random checks of your living spaces", a Central Ward community activist said.
This article only depicts three of several victims injured in Newark over the holiday weekend.