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Vigil Held For Teens Shot, Killed On Christmas Night In Newark

Newark Vigil

Community leaders hold a vigil for two teens who were shot and killed in Newark on Christmas night. (Credit: CBS 2)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Community leaders and concerned residents gathered for a vigil in Newark Sunday afternoon, following a shooting that left two teenagers dead on Christmas night.

As 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported, the carnage in Newark has been going on for a long time, but every once in a while, something happens that really mobilizes the community.

Thus, despite the rain, a crowd turned out for the vigil on South 7th Street in Newark for Kasson Morman, 15, and Zainee Hailey, 13, who were shot to death in front of a Newark home around 10 p.m. this past Wednesday.

Donna Jackson organizes daily prayer vigils on the streets of Newark.

“We have a 13-year-old girl that will not have the experience of her eighth-grade formal; her high school prom – just cut down,” Jackson said, “and the families are devastated. The community is devastated. We’re all being touched by this.”

As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported Sunday night, the teens were among five people shot to death on Christmas Day in Newark and neighboring Irvington.

And but for the pair of teddy bears out on the porch of the home on Schley Street in Newark where the teens were shot, you would never know they had died a violent death there on Christmas Day.

“I just want to say I want justice for my son,” said Morman’s mother, Alnisa Reeds. “My son was a good child.”

Reeds was hardly able to speak about her unbearable loss, but was comforted by the support from an entire community under siege.

“We’re going to begin to patrol the streets ourselves,” said Newark City Councilman Ras Baraka.

Baraka demanded more police officers on the streets, while pleading with criminals to declare a cease fire.

“Put your guns down today,” he said. “We’re here to ask you to do that.”

The proximity of persistent violence in the area was punctuated by the grim fact that on Christmas Day, the same day those teenagers were killed, three men were shot to death just a half mile away in Irvington.

A shrine of candles and heartfelt messages were mounted where Pierre Clervoyant, 24, of Elizabeth, and Woodley Daniel, 32, of Irvington, and Mushir Cureton, 27, of Newark, were killed.They were gunned down, and two others were wounded, just after midnight Christmas morning outside Slick’s GoGo Bar on Nye Avenue and 21st Street in Irvington.

In both holiday shooting sprees, the killers remained at large as of Sunday night. And despite the despair, there was a determination to overcome.

“And to all of those naysayers who say this is not going to work — this is just another ploy or trick — it’s better to do something than nothing at all,” Baraka said.

Jackson feared that when the attention to this crime wanes, so will the community outrage.

And the mourning continued for the two young lives lost.

“He didn’t deserve this,” Reeds said.

A third teen — Abdul Frazier, 14 — was also shot and critically injured in the Newark shooting. He was sitting on the porch with Morman when shots rang out.

The shooting brought the city’s murder total for the year, to 100 for the first time since 2006.

Late last week, CBS 2 obtained surveillance video of the scene. It showed a red sport-utility vehicle and a shadowy figure moments before the shots rang out, CBS 2′s Christine Sloan reported exclusively on Friday.

A red Jeep can be seen heading towards the street shortly before 10 p.m. Minutes later, police cars rushed to the scene. They were followed by ambulances and paramedics.

The Jeep, visible in the distance, was later towed from the crime scene. A source told CBS 2 that it is now a part of the investigation.

At least one person has been shot and killed in Newark since the Christmas night incident. On Saturday evening, Jose Alfaro, 39, was gunned down at a home in the 700 block of Mount Prospect Avenue.

Meanwhile, a funeral for Zainee Hailey has been set for Tuesday at the New Zion Baptist Church in Elizabeth, N.J.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)