NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Residents in Newark were shaken following a shooting Wednesday night that left two teens dead and a third critically injured.
The killings happened around 10 p.m. outside a three-family home on Schley Street and brought Newark’s murder total for the year, to 100 for the first time since 2006.
Junior Clark lives nearby and was on his way to work when he said he saw the gunman just minutes before the shooting.
“I saw the gun under his arm, you know, under his jacket,” he told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell. “I heard when the shots fired. I was getting ready to close the gate and they walked to the corner right there. It was three of them and I heard when one of them said ‘let’s go back, let’s go back.'”
A 13-year-old girl, identified as Zainee Hailey, and 15-year-old Kasson Mormon were shot and killed, according to prosecutors. Another boy, 14, was also shot and is in critical condition. His name was not immediately released.
According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the shooting happened outside of Hailey’s home Christmas night. Community activist Cassandra Dock told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan that Hailey was an innocent bystander.
“This is wrong. She’s 13. All she was doing was taking out the garbage, Christine. That’s wrong,” Dock said.
Mormon was a freshman at Central High who loved singing in the choir, according to his principal, Sharnee Brown.
“He was a good kid. Our kids go through a journey, and he was cut down in that journey,” Brown said.
Neighbors were anxiously awaiting more information about how and why this all happened. Sources said the shooting appears to have been targeted and may be connected to a carjacking, but investigators have not given a motive, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
“The Wild West in the South Ward. You usually just have to tell your kids to watch for cars in the street. Now you have to tell them to watch for bullets and that’s sad,” resident Monica Toodle said.
“I’m just so sorry. They’re so young,” neighbor Lucille Heyward told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney. “It’s just so sad.”