EAST ORANGE, N.J. (CBS 2 / WCBS 880/ 1010 WINS/ AP) — The investigation into the murder of Seton Hall student Jessica Moore, who was gunned down at a house party over the weekend, was moving quickly Tuesday.
The accused shooter, 25-year-old Nicholas Welch, was arrested Monday night and will make his first court appearance Wednesday morning in Newark.
The search also continued Tuesday for 19-year-old Marcus Bascus, the man accused of supplying the gun.
Investigators described Welch as a coward with a gun. In what prosecutors said was a twisted act of revenge, the East Orange resident allegedly fired a gun into a crowd filled with Seton Hall University students early Saturday morning during a packed, off-campus house party not far from his own home on South Clinton Street.
“Apparently he was upset that he had been thrown out of the party. With that he returned to the party with a gun and began firing in the house,” said Robert Laurino, acting Essex County Prosecutor.
Welch was being held on $2 million bail and “didn’t say much of anything” when he was arrested around 9 p.m., Laurino said.
Moore, 19-year-old sophomore, was hailed as a hero. She died of a gunshot wound to the head when, witnesses said, she jumped in front of a wounded classmate.
Detectives said Welch shot and injured four other party goers as the students panicked. Two of the injured were 19-year-old women who go to Seton Hall, and one was a 25-year-old man who attends the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The other was a 20-year-old man from New York who is not a student.
“I was thinking in my head, ‘I don’t’ want to die’. I’m saying it out loud. ‘I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die’ because I know where he’s at. It’s pitch black. Nobody knows where he’s at. Nobody knows where it’s all coming from. It was just scary. It was real scary,” said freshman Carissa Maree-Qualls.
“The idea of the guy getting upset because he couldn’t come to the party, it like blows my mind,” said resident Meldee Hardaway.
Besides the fact the fact that he lives on the same street, detectives said Welch, and Bascus for that matter, have no connection to any of the victims.
Seton Hall students were relieved the accused shooter was in custody, charged with murder, conspiracy, and weapons possession.
“Absolutely there’s a sense of relief. Something’s being taken care of that should have been taken care of,” said freshman Sotiria Simeonidis.
One resident said random violence on the was not surprising. “We got gangs down this way, and gangs down that way. You know?” he said.