New Jersey law enforcement officials announced homicide charges against a Millville man Thursday in a mass shooting at a Cumberland County house party that left three people dead and 11 injured.
Zedekiah Holmes, 21, was charged with murder in the deaths of Kevin Elliott, 30, and Asia Hester, 25, who were killed when multiple gunmen opened fire on more than 100 people at a house party in the 1000 block of East Commerce Street in Fairfield Township. .
Holmes was arrested Wednesday and also charged with conspiracy to commit murder, four counts of attempted murder, six counts of firearm possession, and related counts, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said at a news conference.
Shell casings from a .45-caliber handgun authorities say Holmes fired at the party were linked to shell casings from an April shooting on South Burlington Road, Webb-McRae said. He also stands charged in that crime and is jailed awaiting trial.
Holmes was not charged in the death of the third victim, his sister, Braylin Holmes, 19, whose slaying remains unsolved, authorities said.
The barrage of bullets fired just before noon at partygoers “shocked the conscience,” the county prosecutor said, and drew national attention to a community unaccustomed to such bloodshed.
“We need the community to say, `Not our sons, not our daughters, not our city, not our community.’ I plead with those who have information about the uncharged shooters to come forward and help us bring them to justice,” Webb-McRae said.
Also on Thursday, authorities announced the arrests of five others in connection with the shootings.
Already arrested, in the days after the May 22 shootings, had been Kevin Dawkins, 36, who faces charges of attempted murder and related counts, and his half-brother Darrell Dawkins, who has been charged with unlawful possession of a handgun. Both are jailed. Darrell Dawkins was the host of the party, authorities said.
Investigators recovered 48 shell casings fired from six guns, found nine firearms at the scene that had not been fired, and conducted 142 interviews, officials said.
“The charges that we’re announcing today are an example of the ways we hold accountable those who engage in violence. We use every tool and resource at our disposal to identify those that commit these terrible acts, and we use every tool and resource at our disposal to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” said acting state Attorney General Andrew Bruck.
“This has thus far been a massive investigation,” said Webb-McRae. “Not withstanding, there’s more work to be done. Forensic evidence has taken us this far, however, we know that there are unaccounted guns that were discharged that day, and there are shooters that have not been held account for their actions.”
Law enforcement officials asked for the public’s help in locating those shooters. Those with tips are asked to call the New Jersey State Police, 856-451-0101, or to access the prosecutor’s office online tip site at www.njccpo.org/tips.