Saying the job of first responders in fighting the coronavirus is being hampered by having to deal with street violence like the Sunday bloodshed that left seven people shot, three fatally, Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora on Monday issued an 8 p.m. curfew for most residents and businesses in New Jersey’s capital.
Unless residents are going to a job that Gov. Phil Murphy has deemed essential, they must be inside by 8 p.m. and remain there until 6 a.m. Businesses, including grocery stores, corner stores, and gas stations, must adhere to the curfew, Gusciora said.
“Our first responders, on top of dealing on the frontlines of COVID-19, are now dedicating all possible resources to needless carnage that took place this past weekend,” the mayor said. “We cannot allow this violence to continue unabated through our streets and in our homes.”
The mayor’s emergency order took aim at ATV riders, whom he accused of being responsible for some of the violence, and in at least one incident, using the banned, off-road vehicles in shootings. As a result, the order states, it will be illegal for anyone to park or publicly possess an off-road vehicle such as ATVs, and vehicles will be confiscated.
In addition, any gas station that serves gasoline to these vehicles will be immediately shut down, the order states, while any businesses that remain open past 8 p.m. or cannot control social distancing and sanitary guidelines will be immediately shut down.
“These reckless acts not only endanger the public welfare and safety of innocent persons living in Trenton but also can hasten the chances of spreading COVID-19 in our community,” he said. “Too many lives are at stake to allow this activity to continue.”
The first shooting incident occurred Sunday shortly after 5 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said. A large group of people was at the basketball court when several people fired into the crowd. As many as 40 shots were fired, and a man was struck in the torso and died shortly afterward. Authorities identified him as Frederick Mason, 20, of Trenton. A second male victim was also struck in the torso, and he remains hospitalized.
While detectives were investigating the homicide at MLK Park, another shooting occurred in the 100 block of Hoffman Avenue at 7 p.m., the Prosecutor’s Office said. While a large group of people was watching two women fight, a gunman approached a female bystander and shot her in the head. She was transported to the hospital, where she died, police said. Authorities identified her as Quamierah Massey, 24, of Trenton.
Then, at 9 p.m., in the 400 block of Garfield Avenue, a vehicle drove along the street and someone inside it fired numerous rounds at a group of people, police said. One victim was struck in the hand; a second victim, in the leg; and a third, in the head.
The three were transported to a hospital, and as the police secured the scene and searched for evidence, they located a fourth victim in a backyard. That man, identified as Dabree Brannon, 30, of Trenton, died at the scene, police said.
No arrests had been made in any of the shootings as of Monday, police said.