NJ murder charge: Fight over Facebook post leads to shooting of 9-year-old girl
TRENTON — The Mercer County Prosecutors Office has announced the arrest of a suspect in the death of a 4th-grade girl who was playing outside her apartment last week when an argument turned violent and shots rang out.
During a news conference Wednesday morning, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said 19-year-old Isiah Roberts, of Trenton, has been charged with the murder of Sequoya Bacon-Jones.
Fight over a Facebook post
He said as the child was playing with her brother and other friends in a courtyard area of the Kingsbury twin-towers housing complex Friday evening, two women began arguing over a Facebook post.
Onofri said as that dispute escalated, Roberts, who was the brother of one of the women, got into an altercation nearby with another man who was at the scene.
“That altercation then made its way into the courtyard where numerous shots were fired,” he said.
He said Sequoya tried to run, but was hit by one shot and collapsed.
“Roberts then fled in an Acura, which was described by numerous residents who called 911,” he said.
Police responded to shots being fired, then helped get the wounded child into an ambulance and she was rushed to Capital Health where she underwent emergency surgery for a gunshot wound to her upper body.
Onofri said Sequoya has been stabilized during the surgery, but died later that evening right before midnight.
Sequoya’s mother Sacha Bacon-Jones, who stood quietly crying, holding a picture of her daughter as she was hugged and comforted by different family members throughout the news conference, said her little girl was an embodiment of greatness.
She was a fighter
“She came into this world fighting, she left this world fighting, but she loved to live, she loved to make people laugh, she loved to make them smile,” she said.
Bacon-Jones said Sequoya was a bright light, interested in everything and wanted to make an impression on people so they would always remember her.
“My baby was about to be on top of the world and now she can’t be, I don’t get it, she was cut down too short, she was awesome,” she said.
She said it’s so hard going to sleep now, knowing her daughter isn’t going to come in the next morning and tell her it’s time to go to school.
Sequoya was so happy and full of life
“She loved school, she loved being active, she loved going outside and playing with her friends, she loved skating and singing and making TikToks, and now all I have are memories,” said Bacon-Jones.
She added it’s hard to believe her daughter is gone and now she only has the memories of spending time with her.
“I can’t make any more, she can’t do anymore and that’s not fair, that is not fair to me, it is not fair to her dad, it’s not fair to her aunts and uncles and cousins," she said.
Onofri said the vehicle the suspect had fled in was spotted in Hamilton late Tuesday morning.
He said as police pulled the car over, Roberts jumped out of the passenger seat and took off.
A lengthy pursuit followed, as the suspect ran into a wooded area along Route 129.
“A dragnet was then cast over the area by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, at 12:45 yesterday afternoon Roberts was arrested as he entered the Delaware River,” he said.
Onofri speculated the suspect had planned to swim to Pennsylvania to escape.
Trenton police, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, the New Jersey State Police, Hamilton police and NJ Transit Police were also involved in the search.
Trenton Police Director Steve Wilson made an emotional plea to residents of his city to use their cell phones to call for help instead of videotaping shootings and other emergency situations for fun.
“Not until it’s too late does the community come together, get involved and dial 911 before these things happen, so police can get there before these things happen,” he said.
He said the men and women in his department did a great job and “I’m glad they solved this crime, but I’m so angry because it could have been stopped. The police department, we’re not separate from the community. Help us protect you, help us protect you.”
A tearful thank you
After speaking, through tears, Bacon-Jones thanked the detectives and police officers in the room for working the case and bringing Sequoya’s killer to justice
“This awful tragedy needs to be a wake-up call, the violence cannot continue,” said Acting State Attorney General Matt Platkin. “We cannot continue to have press conferences like this one, the community and the state of New Jersey cannot continue to endure these horrors.”
New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Pat Callahan said he had prayed for Sequoya’s recovery himself, and with others after learning what happened.
“I’m tired of praying for children that are shot while playing quite frankly, I’m tired of looking at teddy bears and candles on sidewalks in cities around the state of New Jersey, it’s about time we take more action to make sure it never happens again,” he said.
In addition to the murder charge, Roberts is also facing charges of aggravated assault, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.