Man shot twice in the chest dies in hospital
A city man was shot in the chest Friday night and later died at the hospital, ending a two-month period of no homicides in the capital city.
Police found Elliot Simon Jr. lying in the middle of the road in the 100 block of Boudinot Street a few minutes after 9 p.m.
Simon was shot at least twice in the chest, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. He was taken to the hospital and died from his injuries about an hour after the incident.
Simon celebrated his 52nd birthday the day before he was murdered.
Police say ShotSpotter detected gunfire near 37 North Hermitage Avenue, and officials believe Simon tried to flee to his West Ward home on Boudinot after being shot, but collapsed in the street.
Several customers on Saturday patronized the Hermitage Deli and Grocery store at the corner of Boudinot and Hermitage and expressed frustration over the city’s latest homicide.
“I heard the gunshots last night. I heard ‘Boom! Boom!’ Two shots,” a woman said after exiting the deli. “This is a shame. It is very sad.”
Another woman who referred to herself as “the mayor of Hermitage” said Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson and West Ward Councilman Zachary Chester need to “come out of the closet and help us.”
“Can we get some help out here?” the woman asked.
Simon was married to the late Tia Green, whose 19-year-old daughter Tiara Green was shot and killed in a June 2013 West Ward shooting on the 600 block of West State Street, according to Trenton community activist Darren “Freedom” Green.
“The family has a vicious cycle of violence,” Green said Saturday afternoon, noting that Simon had to deal with the loss of Tiara Green and the loss of his wife who had “died of a broken heart,” although “a coroner’s report won’t show it.”
Green said Trenton suffers from a variety of issues that promote crime in the city — poverty, a struggling public education system and mental health challenges arising from people living in blighted and depressed neighborhoods — but he said the people of Trenton need to have “the moral character” to help police arrest the criminals who commit these acts of violence.
“Righteous people report crime,” Green said, “because they don’t want it in their community.”
The greatest way to honor Simon, Green said, is to report information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for killing him.
Green acknowledged that relations between community and police need to be improved to build trust, but he said building and strengthening those bridges between the community and police would make Trenton safer with lower rates of crime comparable to the surrounding suburbs.
“We see wrong, we need to say, ‘Not on our watch,’” Green said.
At the Hermitage Deli on Saturday, a man who declined to identify himself said he used to drink coffee every morning with Simon. He referred to Simon by the name “June,” and said Simon was “one of the coolest guys you could meet.”
Councilwoman Phyllis Holly-Ward said she knew Simon from “general acquaintance” and called Trenton’s latest incident of gun violence “upsetting.”
“It is time for us to stand up. It’s time for the mayor to stand up,” Holly-Ward said Saturday morning. “We got to get ready and walk the streets.”
Holly-Ward said Mayor Jackson should go into the city’s troubled neighborhoods and show the residents he cares.
“If he doesn’t want to do it, I have some colleagues and we are just going to do it ourselves,” Holly-Ward said. “It is unacceptable. Everything isn’t peaches and cream.”
Simon is Trenton’s fourth homicide victim of 2016. The city this year has had numerous shootings that left people wounded with critical or non-life-threatening injuries, including at least six that have occurred this month alone.
The Mercer County Homicide Task Force is investigating the case. Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call (609) 989-6406 or contact the Trenton Police confidential tip line at (609) 989-3663. Individuals may also call the Trenton Crime Stoppers tip line at (609) 278-8477. Those wishing to text a tip can send a message labeledTCSTIPS to Trenton Crime Stoppers at 274637.
Trentonian staff writer Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman contributed to this report.