Over the past weekend on the 22nd, a 90’s themed party turned into a deadly mass shooting. Hundreds gathered at a home on East Commerce Street in Bridgeton, New Jersey. The two deceased victims are Asia Hester, 25 and Kevin Elliot, 30.
Six of the other shooting victims were sent to Cooper University Hospital. Out of the 12 other victims, it’s reported that several have life-threatening injuries. The victims range from 19 to 35 years old.
A motive is unclear at the moment, as the investigation is still ongoing. It also is not known if the shooting is related to a noise complaint police responded to just hours before the shooting on a nearby street. State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said after troopers responded to the noise complaint, several people joined the East Commerce Street party.
One person is in custody on several unlawful weapons charges according to CNN. However, it’s not known if that person is directly involved in the deadly mass shooting. It’s believed that the man in custody is 36-year-old Kevin Hawkins. According to NBC Philadelphia, Hawkins is not allowed to be in possession of any weapon.
In an article from NBC Philadelphia, someone called police saying there was a man with a gun in the woods behind Maple Garden Apartments in Bridgeton. Police found Dawkins next to a tree clutching a gun. He was subsequently arrested and charged.
Police anticipate more arrests in relation to the deadly mass shooting.
Investigators and neighbors reported a chaotic scene. Photos show overturned party furniture and strewn supplies. Neighbors Joeron Pierce and James Pierce say party-goers ran to their homes asking for shelter from the gunfire.
They told CNN there was chaos after hearing nearly 20 shots in just a few minutes.
Across the street lives Rev. Michael Keene for the Trinity AME Church. He told CNN affiliate WPVI he originally thought the party was setting off fireworks. He says he heard nearly 10 shots in a row. The reverend doesn’t understand the need for a gun at a party saying, “If you’re there to have a good time why do you need a gun with you? That means you’re expecting trouble to me.”
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is calling the deadly mass shooting a “targeted attack.”
Governor Phil Murphy says this incident is a representation of the larger problem of gun control. According to NJ.com, “There are still too many people with easy access to guns who should never even have access to a gun,” Murphy said during a press conference.
Police found multiple guns at the scene. Investigators are working to process the scene. The investigation is ongoing.