TRENTON - At least one gunman sprayed upward of 20 bullets into a block party Sunday night for a city council candidate, killing a 13-year-old girl, authorities said.
The drive-by shooting, about a mile from the Statehouse, was likely gang-related and could be connected to a shooting the night before at a Trenton nightclub, in which a man was shot in the leg, police said yesterday.
The girl, Tamrah Leonard, was pronounced dead at a hospital. No other injuries were reported.
"It really started over some stupid argument at a local club . . . that wound up with a little girl being killed," Trenton Police Director Irving Bradley Jr. said. "Our young kids have really been victimized by a lot of stupidity that has been going on in our streets."
Tamrah was in a crowd of 80-plus people who had gathered for a campaign block party hosted by candidate Divine Allah, the national youth minister for the New Black Panther Party. Investigators are trying to find out who was the intended target at the party, but Irving said he was unaware of any known gang members at the barbecue.
Irving and Mayor Doug Palmer urged witnesses to come forward to help solve the homicide - the ninth this year in the city of 83,000 residents.
"There are people who know who did this," Palmer said. "I'm imploring all of you to come forward. Act like it's your child laying on a sidewalk on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
"Once we apprehend these vermin, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," he added.
A message left at a phone number listed for Allah wasn't immediately returned.