Three shot at church funeral for Cagney Roberts

Three people were shot Tuesday afternoon while attending a funeral for 19-year-old Cagney Roberts who was gunned down earlier this month on Girard Avenue.

“Cagney’s mother was hiding under the chairs right next to the coffin when the gunshots went off,” a witness said. “She was so hysterical; you could see it in her eyes. I grabbed her and told her she was going to be alright.”

An investigator checks out two guns that were dropped near the scene of the shooting on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on Tuesday. Trentonian Photo/PENNY RAY

An investigator checks out two guns that were dropped near the scene of the shooting on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on Tuesday. Trentonian Photo/PENNY RAY

According to law enforcement, around noon Tuesday, gunshots were fired in the vicinity of Galilee Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. At this time, police are certain that shots were fired outside the church, but cannot confirm whether shots were fired inside. Witnesses, though, told The Trentonian that several gunshots were definitely fired from inside the house of worship.

“The place was full,” Roberts’ cousin Eric Muhammad said. “I was seated in the front row with the family. When I heard the pop, I immediately turned around and attempted to start securing family members and getting them out the side door.”

According to Police Director Ralph Rivera Jr., three people were struck by gunfire: a woman suffered a graze wound, and two young men suffered severe injuries which required emergency surgery. The two men are now in stable condition. Additionally, one woman was trampled as people were evacuated from the church, and another woman suffered a seizure shortly after the first shots were fired.

One witness told The Trentonian that she was inside the church when she all of a sudden heard someone say “It’s not over yet” moments before the first gunshot rang out.

“I feel sorry for Cagney’s parents,” a citizen said. “He was already dead; you can only kill a person once. I don’t understand these young boys.”

Police recovered five weapons from the scene: three revolvers were found in a parking lot near the church, a revolver was found inside the church foyer, and a gun was found on a suspect who was apprehended while leaving the scene in a vehicle.

“We stopped that vehicle and arrested a man with a gun,” Director Rivera said. “We don’t know if he was a shooter, but he was leaving that scene. We’ll have to run ballistics on his weapon first.”

Rivera also said that at the time of the shooting, two police patrol cars were in a parking lot near the church. Rivera said patrols were canvassing the area when they noticed a large crowd of young men gathering outside the church.

“So, as a precautionary measure we had two patrol cars in the parking lot when this violence erupted,” Rivera said. “It just goes to show that when people are intent on committing a crime, they are going to do it. I’m outraged by the actions of these individuals. And we will spare no man or woman, time or effort to bring this case to a conclusion and arrest all those responsible.”

More than 100 people were gathered outside on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near Pennington Avenue, and most of them appeared heartbroken.

Pearlie Murray, who is running for East Ward Council, said she was home gardening when someone called her about the shooting.

“I’m a pastor as well, and a shooting in a church is a great concern for me,” Murray said. “There were children inside that church; those bullets could have injured or killed any of them. This is a bad situation, and it’s time for Governor Christie to release money to hire more cops to put on the street. Christie should be here; this is happening right under his nose.”

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