Son of retired police detective gunned down
The 18-year-old son of retired Trenton police Sgt. Luddie Austin was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon.
Multiple sources told The Trentonian around 1:45 p.m. that James Austin was involved in a fight with an unknown individual in a residence on the 900 block of East State Street when a third party shot Austin in the chest.
He was rushed to the Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Lt. Stephen Varn said Austin was involved in a personal dispute when he was shot. Residents said the mother of James Austin’s 6-month-old twin girls lives on the block. James Austin’s tan Infiniti was at the scene with the rear windshield shattered.
How exactly the vehicle was damaged remains under investigation, Varn said. Scanner reports said the suspect or suspects fled the scene in a silver Honda Civic with major damage to the front windshield.
Around 5 p.m., a woman identifying herself as the mother of James Austin called The Trentonian wanting to discuss James Austin’s murder with a reporter. She also said James Austin was shot by someone while he was fighting with another man.
She requested a meeting on the first block of Hewitt Street, but upon arriving at the address she provided, it was discovered the home at the given address had been vacant for months.
But a silver Honda Civic with extensive damage to the windshield, which matched the description given by police of the suspect’s vehicle, was found.
Police were called and as officers and detectives arrived, the car was recovered and is believed to be the car the suspects fled in.
Luddie Austin was a Trenton police sergeant, but was loaned to the U.S. Marshals’ service during the later years of his career. He was featured on the A&E show “Manhunters” about the Marshalls’ fugitive task force. Luddie Austin said the news of his son’s death left him feeling “numb.” He has received a huge outpouring of support from local law enforcement, which includes the Trenton Police Department, the Mercer County Prosectutor’s Office and the U.S. Marshalls, he said.
“I really appreciate all the overwhelming support from my law enforcement family,” Luddie Austin, who retired from law enforcement in 2011 after a 17-year career, said.
James Austin was a Trenton Central High School grad who played both football and basketball and was studying business administration at the Mercer County Community College, his father said.
“He was a good young man who was on the right path,” Luddie Austin said. “He had a smile that brightened your day.”
Det. Gary Britton of the TPD and Det. Bryan Cottrell of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office are on the case.
Anyone with information regarding the homicide can call the confidential tipline at 609-989-3663 or Trenton Crime Stoppers at 609-278-8477.
Alternatively, tipsters who prefer to text a tip can text information to TCSTIPS to 274637.
Stick with the Trentonian and Homicide Watch for further updates.