Four killed in Newark
by Alexi Friedman and John HollSunday August 05, 2007, 4:32 PM
Four people have been killed in Newark since last night, including three young people shot execution-style in a school playground and a man in an unrelated slaying this morning.
Two men, Deshawn Harvey and Terrance Aeriel, and one woman, Ofemi Hightower, were the victims of a confrontation at about 11:30 p.m. between two groups behind Mount Vernon School, police said.
Terrance Aeriel's sister, 19-year-old Natasha Aeriel, also was shot. She was listed in fair condition today at University Hospital, hospital spokesman Rogers Ramsey said.
A separate shooting at 8:30 a.m. on Smith Street left one man dead, in what the prosecutor's office is calling a retalitatory shooting for an attempt on two people's lives earlier this morning in the same area.
Newark police and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office are investigating the circumstances surrounding the homicides, according to Newark Detective Todd McClendon.
All four people in the schoolyard killings were shot in the head at close range, prosecutor's office spokesman Paul Loriquet said. He said the three victims who died were lined up against a back wall of the school and shot.
The victims all are Newark residents, Loriquet said, and three had Delaware State University identification cards.
"Our detectives said they were good kids, they never had any issues with the law," Loriquet said. "It's a real tragedy for Newark."
The killings brought the number of homicides in the city this year to 60, compared with 63 for the same time last year, McClendon said.
The spate of gun violence has some residents loudly criticizing Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the police department.
"They are not keeping us safe. It's appalling that (Booker) will allow bodies to keep falling on the streets of Newark," said Donna Jackson, president of Take Back Our Streets. Her group will stand on the steps of City Hall at noon Monday to pressure Booker to resign.
The mayor declined to comment. "It's an ongoing police investigation," said his spokeswoman, Lupe Todd. "It would be irresponsible for him to comment. That's not to say that he hasn't spoken to people, including the victims' families."
"As a parent myself, I can only offer sincere condolences on behalf of the Newark Police Department on what must surely be a very dark day," said Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy. "In the midst of their tragedy, the families have found the strength to cooperate and assist us with the investigation. We will continue to conduct a thorough investigation in an effort to bring the assailant(s) responsible for this heinous crime to justice."
Authorities are asking anyone with information to call the Newark Police Department's "Crime Stoppers" anonymous tip line at 877-NWK-TIPS (877 695-8477) or the "Gun Stoppers" line at 877-NWK-GUNS (877-695-4867).
Staff writers Suleman Din, Julie O'Connor and Jonathan Schuppe contributed to this report.
You know while Cleveland and Baltimore have crime problems Newark is and becoming a special case. Random execution stlye murders are you serious?? The streets of Newark are looking more and more like Iraq. I want this city to turn around so bad but for every step forward they take, they take 100 steps back.