TRENTON — Following the shooting deaths of an 8-year-old boy and his 16-year-old brother in their home Tuesday night, the city's mayor issued a plea to residents to stop the escalating pattern of violence that has gripped New Jersey’s capital city since the start of the year.

Mayor Reed Gusciora on Wednesday said this is a crucial time for members of the younger generation of Trenton.

“They have to decide what kind of city they want to inherit,” he said. “We have to find ways to avoid gang violence and also resolving differences in the neighborhoods.”

Gusciora said “it seems more and more young people, especially affiliated with gangs, are acquiring weapons,” however it remained unclear if these latest killings were gang-related.

Gun deaths in Trenton this year have risen to 34, a sharp uptick from 15 last year and 16 in 2018.

Trenton mayor Reed Gusciora (Office of the Mayor)

“I share the community’s outrage of the senseless violence and gross indifference to human life,” said Gusciora.

Police Director Sheilah Coley said all residents must pull together to stop violence.

“If it takes a village to raise a kid and it takes a village to protect our kids, where is the village?” she wondered out loud. “Let’s put our differences aside, our personal likes and dislikes aside. Let's figure out together how to move this city forward.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com