One killed after gunfire erupts at Trenton arts festival
TRENTON — One person is dead and over a dozen injured after shots were fired at an all-night arts festival early Sunday morning.
Update: The pro-marijuana activist known as NJ Weedman claims he saw officers shoot an alleged gunman as he was running away.
The shots were fired by several males around 2:50 a.m at the Art All Night Trenton 2018 festival at the Roebling Wire Works Building on South Clinton Avenue, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri, sending attendees scrambling for cover.
One of the suspects in the shooting, a 33-year-old man, was fatally shot by police, according to Onofri. who said two additional suspects are in custody.
The motive for the shooting remained under investigation, Onofri said. He did not disclose if a car jacking was involved in the shooting but said there was some gunfire outside the building.
Onofri said 22 people were injured, including a 13-year-old boy and are being treated at several hospitals. 17 of those injuries are gunshot wounds.
Multiple weapons were recovered by police, according to Onofri.
In a message on his Twitter account Gov. Phil Murphy said he was "devastated" by the shooting. "We must eradicate the scourge of gun violence from our communities."
Outgoing Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson told New Jersey 101.5 he has been in touch with Mayor-elect Ray Gusciora and Gov. Phil Murphy about the shooting at the event which is in its 12th year. He said the event draws about 25,000 visitors with no problems.
Jackson called shootings like this one a "public health crisis" and said there would be comprehensive effort at all levels of government to work together to prevent future incidents.
"We're not going to let the bad guys for one event disrupt the great things that we have in our capital city," Jackson said.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman who has been outspoken on the issue of gun safety was "saddened and angered" at gun violence in her own district and said in a statement she is praying for the families involved. But the Democrat said prayers are not enough.
"After every shooting, we talk about motive, mental illness and every other distraction from the real problem — guns. New Jersey has some of the strongest gun safety legislation in the country. That should make it very clear that this is a problem we can only solve at the national level, with Congress leading the way. Despite all of our state’s efforts, New Jersey is not an island — we can’t make our neighborhoods safe as long as guns can come in across a bridge or state line, from Pennsylvania or North Carolina. There has to be federal action," she said in a statement.
About 1,000 people were at the festival, according to police. The Trentonian reported that the festival site was strewn with broken glass and other debris after the shots were fired.
The festival, billed as "24 hours of community, creativity and inspiration," started at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, and was scheduled to go 24 straight hours. The remainder of the festival was cancelled after the shooting.
"We’re still processing much of this and we don’t have many answers at this time but please know that our staff, our volunteers, our artists and musicians all seem to be healthy and accounted for. Our sincere, heartfelt sympathies are with those who were injured," read a statement on the event's Facebook page, adding that art work on display cannot yet be release.
Angelo Nicolo told 6 ABC Action News that he and his brother were at the event when they heard loud popping sounds. He said people started running down the street.
"I saw two police officers escort a guy that got shot in the leg, they bandaged him up and whisked him away," Nicolo said.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.