NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police in Newark were searching for suspects in three separate shootings that left a teenager dead and 12 other people wounded.
Bullets began flying when a woman was shot in the city’s Central Ward on Monday. Three men and a woman were then wounded along Halsey Street in Newark’s downtown area around 6:30 p.m.
Later that evening, a teenager died and seven people were wounded in the city’s South Ward around 10 p.m. when police said someone in a dark SUV opened fire on a crowd of people standing and sitting in a driveway between two houses.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said five males and three females ranging in age from 15 to 32 were wounded. Among them, 15-year-old Aziz Stewart of Newark was pronounced dead at the hospital. Police said the other victims, whose names have not been released, were Newark residents but did not live on the block where the shootings occurred. They were all hospitalized in stable condition as of Monday night. Two were subsequently released.
Acting Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio said a preliminary investigation indicates the South Ward shooting appeared to be targeted, although the intended target was not yet known. DeMaio said it appeared Stewart had been talking with the other victims when the SUV opened fire on the crowd. He said police are asking for the public’s help in identifying those involved in the shooting.
“Today’s shootings are not only a tragedy for the victims and their families, but it is also tragic for our city to face yet another wave of senseless violence,” DeMaio said.
There have been several violent incidents in Newark so far this summer, including the fatal May 26 drive-by shooting of Newark Police Officer William Johnson, who was off-duty and waiting for a slice of pizza when it occurred. Police said he was not the intended target.
In June, five people were wounded in three separate shootings that occurred over a two-hour span on a Friday night. Later that month, a Newark man was charged with fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy after they quarreled over the man’s girlfriend.
And the Fourth of July holiday in Newark left three people dead, and was followed by a second round of violence when a suspect in one of the killings committed suicide in Virginia.
Mayor Cory Booker has struggled to combat a violent crime rate that has been rising in the last two years after steep drops the previous two years.
Booker vowed in June that the city would not repeat the deadly record of the summer of 2010, when 35 people were murdered between June 1 and September 1 in Newark’s bloodiest summer in decades.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-847-7432
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