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2 Charged In Shooting That Killed Jersey City Man Trying To Protect Wife

Jersey City Fatal Shooting

The scene of a robbery and shooting that took the life of George Smith, 63, in Jersey City. (Credit: CBS 2)

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two suspects have been charged in connection with the robbery and fatal shooting of a man who was trying to protect his wife in Jersey City this past weekend.

George Smith, 63, was shot and killed just after midnight Sunday morning in his home on Danforth Avenue. Police said his wife, Margaret Smith, was being targeted in her driveway, when her husband stepped between her and the gunman.

The assailant was after the woman’s handbag.

On Wednesday, police announced Joshua Higgins, 19, of Newark, had been charged with felony murder, robbery, and firearms offenses in connection with the shooting.

Bail for Higgins was set at $500,000 cash only.

Donte Gaskin, 19, of Irvington was also arrested when he was found to have Margaret Smith’s cellphone, police said. The cellphone was taken during the robbery.

Gaskin was charged with receiving stolen property, and his bail was set at $75,000.

At the time of the shooting, George and Margaret Smith had just been out to the nearby Moose Lodge where Smith was a member. When they arrived home, parking their minivan in their driveway, they were approached by the two suspects.

Many of the neighbors heard the shots, and Margaret Smith’s cries of disbelief.

“I heard the wife screaming,” said neighbor Christoforos Hadjistyllis. “It was a terrifying scream.”

Hadjistyllis said it is hard to comprehend this happening to George Smith. And at the Moose Lodge, friends of the victim describe the wife as just shattered with grief.

“This shouldn’t happen to George, because he was, he never would have harmed those people that they probably thought he was going to,” said friend Dan Pronti. “But he was meek; he was very timid and quiet.”

The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit continued to investigate the shooting on Wednesday. Anyone with information was asked to call the unit at (201) 914-1345 or e-mial hcpotips@hcpo.org.

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