Teenager gunned down on North Clinton Avenue

A teenager was found Wednesday evening shot and killed on the sidewalk in front of a residence on North Clinton Avenue.

On Thursday morning, police identified the victim as 17-year-old Shamere Melvin of Trenton.

According to police, officers were dispatched around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday to the 300 block of North Clinton Avenue to investigate a “man down.” When they arrived on scene, police found a black male, later identified as Melvin, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the head. Melvin was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers were still on-scene around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, and Melvin could be seen lying against a fence in front of a residential dwelling. A white sheet covered his body, and a woman who witnesses identified as one of Melvin’s relatives could be heard sobbing from a block away.

Minister Lee Ingram, a trained Trenton Police Chaplain, was on-scene as well. But because Trenton’s Police Chaplain Program has not officially begun, he was not permitted to console the grief-stricken family.

“It’s tiring,” Minister Ingram said in a conversation Thursday. “The emotional state of people in this city is just bad. And it’s tiresome that so many young men are losing their lives and nobody seems to care. I just get tired that the mothers and the families are forgotten after the first seven days.”

Minister Ingram, along with 10 other faith-based leaders, recently completed training in Trenton’s Police Chaplain program, which will aim to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.

“It’s really an outstanding program, one that I think will be very helpful in the community,” Reverand William Coleman said Thursday. “There’s a void in the relationship between police and the community. And we found that we can serve as a calming presence between the police and the chaos that surrounds violent crime.”

Rev. Coleman, who is the Pastor of Second Baptist Church in Asbury Park, was instrumental in coordinating the Police Chaplain Program in Trenton. And if the program had officially started, a Police Chaplain would have been permitted to console Melvin’s family as they watched officers process the crime scene.

“Sometimes being a Police Chaplain just means standing there and being there,” Rev. Coleman said. “There’s a calming effect that takes place. My hope and prayer is that along with that will come some rationale about who committed the crime.”

Rev. Coleman expects Trenton’s Chaplain Program to officially begin sometime in the next couple months. The 11 clergymen and women are already trained, Coleman said. They now await funding for jackets and identification that signifies them as Police Chaplains. They will then participate in an orientation ceremony before joining local police in nightly ride-alongs.

“It’s a two-way street: I want a relationship with the police, and I want a relationship with the community,” Rev. Coleman said. “And we want to help reduce some of the violence by solving these crimes through love, care and spiritual guidance.”

Melvin’s murder is being investigated by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force. Anyone with information is asked to call (609) 989-6406, or use the Trenton police confidential tip line at (609) 989-3663.

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