Witnesses say men were setting off fireworks, then cops shot them
JERSEY CITY — Questions remain about what prompted three police officers to fire on two young men at a housing complex on Monday night.
The identities of the young men, ages 19 and 21, shot at the Arlington Gardens Housing Complex on Randolph Avenue around 10:15 p.m were not disclosed by Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez. She also didn't say specifically what may have prompted the officers, one of whom is a lieutenant, to fire their weapons.
But Suarez said a preliminary investigation determined fireworks were being shot off in the area at the time.
The New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice was immediately notified of the incident and in accordance with Attorney General guidelines, the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office has taken over the investigation from the Jersey City Police Department.
One of the men, Shyquan Blade, 19, told PIX 11 he and the other person shot, Davonte Moore, 21, had been firing Roman candles when police confronted them — and then shots were fired.
Moore's mother, Katrina Moore, told PIX 11 she wants to know why police fired if no gun was shown by the two. Suarez hasn't said whether anyone involved in the incident other than police had been armed.
“They all had roman candles and the cops opened fire,” one man leaving the Arlington Gardens housing complex told NJ.com. The report did not include his name. “The kid had nothing but a Roman candle. They were good kids. All they were doing was hanging out and having fun.”
Moore told PIX 11 her son was shot three times in the legs and plays football at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, and is having emergency knee surgery. His name was not listed on team rosters from the past two seasons on the school's website.
A resident told NJ.com there had been two groups shooting Roman candles at each other at the rear of the housing complex. The neighbor, who was not named in the report, said police “probably thought it was guns and they just started shooting. I heard the difference in the sound and went for cover.”
The NJ.com report also said a building at the scene had multiple bullet holes, and a window shattered by a gunshot.
A spokesman for Suarez did not immediately return a message from New Jersey 101.5 seeking more information.
Most fireworks, including Roman candles, are illegal for personal use in New Jersey.
More from New Jersey 101.5