1 dead, 5 injured in after-hours club shooting

By SHAHEED M. MORRIS, For The Trentonian

A shooting at an after-hours club in the city’s North Ward left one person dead and five others injured, authorities said.

Police responded to a call at 4:37 a.m. Saturday in the 900 block of Martin Luther King Boulevard where they found a 43-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead around 10 a.m. at Capital Health Regional Medical Center, said First Assistant Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri.

The victim’s name was not released pending to the notification of the next of kin. The deceased allegedly lived above the North Ward speakeasy. Illegal speakeasies and after-hours clubs operate after city bars close at 2 a.m.

The three other victims were shot during the incident. Most severely wounded is a 30-year-old man who was shot in the chest remains in critical condition; a second 30-year-old man was shot in the ankle and a 23-year-old female was shot in the shoulder. The latter two are expected to survive. The victims were all shot inside the club, Onofri said.

Acting Mayor George Muschal told The Trentonian that he planned to have the city’s department of Inspections along with zoning officials out to inspect and likely shut down the after-hours club as soon as the scene is released.

“You don’t need to be out that late,” said Muschal. “You want to go out to the bars, that’s fine, but you should head home afterwards.”

The former city cop seemed taken aback by the shooting, explaining that you never know when something like that can get out of hand.

Two female victims were burned by scalding grease while attempting to flee the chaos, according to police, however, it was unclear exactly how the victims were burned. One had minor burns, while the other sustained more severe burns and was taken to the Burn Center at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston for treatment.

Family members spent several anxious hours waiting, before officials informed them of the conditions of their relatives.

Muschal, who went to the trauma center to get information about the shooting, said he would approve overtime to work the case, if the police director requests it. Family members chose not to speak with Muschal.

“My condolences go out to the families,” Muschal said. “The people in the projects and the area said it was the first time they saw a mayor at a shooting scene.”

Meanwhile, crime scene tape and unmarked cars blocked off the entire 900 block of Martin Luther King Boulevard late into Saturday evening.

The incident is under investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police. No arrests had been made as of press time.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Mercer County Homicide Task Force (609) 989-6406, or use the Trenton police confidential tip line at (609) 989-3663. Tipsters may also call the Trenton Crime Stoppers tipline at (609) 278-8477. Those wishing to text a tip regarding the killing or any of the other crimes can send a message labeled TCSTIPS to Trenton Crime Stoppers at 274637.

—Trentonian reporter Scott Ketterer contributed to this report.

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