PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Two people have been arrested in Philadelphia in connection with the shooting death of an off-duty Newark police detective, prosecutors said.
Jerome Wright, 24, and his girlfriend, Nashali Gadson, 19, of Newark, were arrested Wednesday and charged with felony murder, robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon. If convicted, they face 30 years to life in prison.
Bail has been set at $1.5 million each.
1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports
Det. Michael Morgan, 32, was shot to death around 3:30 a.m. Monday outside the Sunrise Gentleman’s Lounge near Straight Street and Getty Avenue in Paterson where he was attending a friend’s birthday party.
Police said Wright approached Morgan as he was talking outside with a dancer from the club. Police believe Morgan got involved after Wright grabbed the dancer’s purse — which was filled with cash.
Morgan was shot once in the side. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead nearly 90 minutes after the shooting.
Prosecutors said Wright made off with the dancer’s purse and Morgan’s wallet.
The investigation is ongoing and officials said they may be looking for other suspects. While the detective’s gun was recovered at the scene, the murder weapon has not been found.
Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes said Wright had robbed a 32-year-old woman at gunpoint around 2:45 a.m. — 20 minutes before killing Morgan — in Paterson taking her purse, cellphone and credit cards.
“Her robber put a gun to her head and forced her to lay on the ground as he robbed her,” Valdes said.
WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports
One of the cards had apparently been used on Nov. 7 at a Foot Locker in Newark.
CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reports the suspects were arrested at a motel in the Philadelphia area after someone noticed Wright from a surveillance image released by the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker said the arrests bring comfort to a department that is hurting.
“”He was the greatest of heroes from our community and some two bit criminal and criminals stole his life from his family from the community and his country and for what? Some credit cards and some chump change,” Booker said.
At the Sunrise Gentleman’s Lounge, employees said the dancer Morgan was protecting is so upset she is taking time off.
Fellow police officers say Morgan’s family is thankful the arrests came before his wake which is set for Thursday.
Morgan’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday.