Pemberton HS grad shot his ex-wrestling teammate to death, cops say
PEMBERTON — A Browns Mills teenager has been charged with shooting his former high school wrestling teammate dead.
Nelven Salas, 18, of the 100 block of Rugby Street in Pemberton Township, was charged with one count of aggravated manslaughter in the death of Davon Coleman, also 18.
Salas and Coleman were in a detached garage with a third individual at that individual’s residence in the 300 block of Bayberry Street Thursday morning when the shooting occurred just before 1 a.m., the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office and Pemberton Police said. Coleman was pronounced dead a short time later at Deborah Hospital in Pemberton Township, they said.
An announcement from police didn't make clear what led to the altercation, or how the third individual was connected to either Salas or Coleman. But a report by the Burlington County Times said the home was a hangout for their shared group of friends.
The shooting was initially reported to police as having occurred during an assault on Coleman, Salas and the third individual by three masked intruders who entered the garage, police said. They said officers were told the assailants fled after shooting Coleman.
But police say they determined a handgun found in the garage actually caused Coleman's death.
Salas is presently in the Burlington County Jail in lieu $250,000 full bail.
An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood concluded the manner of death was homicide and the cause was a gunshot wound to the chest, police said.
Salas was additionally charged with possession of a handgun without a permit and hindering apprehension.
The Burlington County Times reported both Salas and Coleman graduated from Pemberton High School in June, and both had been standout wrestlers. Their coach, Gerald Hewitt, said Coleman was "like a son to me," and they'd spoken just a day before, according to the report
"He was the kind of kid who brightened up a room. He could always make you laugh. He could always make you smile. ... I can't imagine what his family is going through," the report quotes him saying.
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