🔴 A monthly community event in Trenton has been canceled for the rest of 2023

🔴 Event organizers cite 'senseless violence and destructive behavior'

🔴 It comes after a shooting just after another community event over the weekend

TRENTON — A recent uptick in violence throughout the Capital City and rowdy behavior have ruined a monthly, family-friendly community event for everyone.

First Fridays take place on the first Friday of each month from May through October with local vendors and live music. They've been a staple in Trenton for seven years.

But after just two Fridays this year, there won't be any more for the rest of 2023. The African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County, or TAACF, announced the cancellation in a statement on social media Tuesday morning.

"We appreciate all the support over the past 7 years and make this decision with extreme regret given the positive energy the majority demonstrated," event organizers said. "We look forward to sustainable resolutions against senseless violence and destructive behavior within the City of Trenton so that future seasons might be considered."

TAACF publicity chair Helen Jones Walker told New Jersey 101.5 that they've "seen a shift" in the attendees coming out to First Fridays. Walker said they've shown a "lack of maturity," though it wasn't related to the ages of those attendees. She added that the decision to cancel was made amid an overall climate of increased violence in the city.

Trenton police spokesperson Lt. Nathan Bolognini also said that the decision to cancel was precautionary amid a recent "uptick in violence." While there had been no specific incidents that led up to the cancellation, Bolognini said that the decision allowed organizers to avoid subjecting a "large gathering of people to potential violence."

🔴 Are Trenton First Fridays canceled permanently?

Mayor Reed Gusciora told New Jersey 101.5 that the city is working with event organizers to hopefully bring First Fridays back before the end of the season.

(Trenton Mayor's Office/Townsquare Media Illustration)
(Trenton Mayor's Office/Townsquare Media Illustration)

“We’re convening a working group this week to determine what some community leaders can do to support our efforts to reduce lethal violence and we’re soliciting their ideas of what we can do as well; I look forward to personally working with the event organizers of Trenton’s First Fridays to revisit the cancellation," Gusciora said. "Regardless, public safety will always be our number one priority.”

Walker confirmed that the TAACF had been in contact with the mayor's office.

🔴 Shooting just after Trenton cigar event

The cancellation comes days after a shooting shortly after a Cigar Sundays event in Trenton on Sunday. After the gathering at Cooper's Riverview restaurant ended around 9 p.m., a large fight broke out at a nearby parking garage.

Trenton police officers near the Riverview parking garage
Trenton police officers near the Riverview parking garage (Google Maps)

The fight escalated into a shooting and a man was shot in his chest and bicep, the Trentonian reported. He was taken to the hospital and was in stable condition.

Cigar Sundays event organizers said in a statement that they would continue to have Trenton police officers and professional security at their events, adding that the shooting happened in an area they could not control.

"Although this event occurred at the parking garage after the event ended, we recognize the impact will reverberate throughout the local community," the organizers said.

Lt. Bolognini clarified that the city has not had any not any shootings "tied directly to an organized event."

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