Camden police on Monday said they had charged four men in connection with a shooting spree last month that left the home of two officers, who were inside with their newborn baby, riddled with bullets.
Jeremiah McDonald, 18, Jaqwa Styles, 19, and Julio Nieves, 19, all of Pennsauken, and Kobbie Johnson, 30, of Collingswood, were charged with attempted murder, conspiracy, and gun offenses, Chief Joseph Wysocki said during a news conference.
The police chief declined to discuss a possible motive for the shooting, but said investigators don’t believe the gunman or gunmen specifically targeted the officers or even realized they lived there. “I believe they had the wrong house,” Wysocki said.
The shooting of the home on the 2900 block of Clinton Street occurred just before midnight Sept. 15.
Police said 10 shots were fired. Six bullets struck the house, including two that went through the front door — while the officers and their baby were on the second floor, police said. No one was injured.
Wysocki declined to say Monday which of the suspects allegedly shot at the house. He said all four were believed to have been inside a 1998 dark purple Honda Odyssey seen in the area at the time. Police later found the abandoned minivan a few blocks away.
Johnson was arrested Friday in Connecticut and is awaiting extradition. The other suspects were arrested locally shortly afterward, Wysocki said.
Authorities on Monday also decried a recent spike in gun violence in Camden, including the death of a 74-year-old grandmother who was shot multiple times Sunday morning. The victim, Sheila Baskin, of Camden, was sitting in a vehicle on the 1800 block of Mulford Street around 10 a.m. when she was hit, authorities said. She was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.
Wysocki said Baskin didn’t appear to be the intended target, but he declined to elaborate. He said he met Sunday with Baskin’s daughter. “It rips my heart out what happened,” the chief said. "I’m beyond disturbed for this senseless tragic death.”
He noted the surge of violence in the city, with 12 homicides in the last six weeks. “The gun violence is at record levels that I have not seen since 2012,” he said.
Hours after the shooting of Baskin, police were called Sunday afternoon to 30th and Stevens Streets for a fight and found 32-year-old Tyree Gacutan, of Camden, suffering from multiple stab wounds to his chest. He was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.
Omar Brown, 33, of Camden, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in Gacutan’s stabbing death, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office said Monday.
Joining the police chief at the news conference were Michael Driscoll, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office, which covers Camden, and Charlie Patterson, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' operations in New Jersey, as well as Jill Mayer, the acting county prosecutor.
Mayer also lamented the recent spike in gun violence. “Why that is — we can all speculate,” she said, adding, "I’m sure in some way, the anxieties and tensions of what is occurring in the world today is a factor.”