Trenton mayor talks bail reform and violence after latest homicide
Hours after a man was murdered Sunday night, marking the second capital city homicide in less than a week, the mayor called upon parents to take a more active role in their children’s lives, and for lawmakers to revisit the state’s bail reform legislation.
“It’s important to know where your kids are, who they’re associating with, and who their friends are,” Mayor Eric Jackson said Monday in a phone conversation, adding that bail reform poses a challenge to public safety. “I believe lawmakers need to take a second and third look at bail reform in cooperation with law enforcement. It’s frustrating to have police do the work to lock up criminals, but 24 hours later they’re back on the street smiling and waving at them saying, ‘I told you I’d be back.’”
Tisheen Rasheen Mack, 26, was shot and killed around 10 p.m. Sunday. He was found lying on the sidewalk in the 800 block of East State Street suffering from numerous gunshot wounds.
Cops who were patrolling the area heard the gunfire. Witnesses at the scene said they heard eight shots. At least one vehicle in the area was also struck by bullets.
Police sources say Mack also had a gun on him, which was found while medical personnel stabilized him at the scene. Mack was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Mack had a troubled past with a history of arrests. He leaves behind at least one young daughter, according to his Facebook page.
Jackson didn’t personally know Mack, nor did he know 15-year-old Kyler Bragg, who was murdered during a shootout near the intersection of Division and Hewitt streets last week. But as is the case with many Trenton murders, the victims were known to law enforcement for repeated engagement in illegal activity. Officials say many of Trenton’s murders are retaliatory in nature and related to other illicit activity.
“Violence in the city is being committed by a handful of folk repeatedly doing these things,” Jackson said. “I understand the intentions of bail reform, but we’ve seen people brought in for warrants or low level crimes go through the system, then return to the street in 24 hours and commit a higher level of crime. If we had a system that really evaluated the probability of a person committing another crime, some of this violent activity wouldn’t be happening in our city.”
Jackson also said the responsibility to deter crime falls upon all members of the community, not just government officials. He said parents and guardians should take advantage of resources offered by nonprofit organizations and faith-based groups to engage youth in positive alternatives to crime.
“It has to start in the household,” Jackson said. “The city doesn’t necessarily have programs that help citizens learn to be an effective parent, but there are organizations in our city that absolutely do that. We’re working with the hand we’ve been dealt, but with the people being arrested being younger and younger, it creates a difficult position for us.”
So far this year, 13 people have been killed in Trenton, which includes the hit-and-run death of 39-year-old Lea Pringle.
“We can’t lock away this problem,” Jackson said. “We have to find long-term, sustainable solutions, and it’s going to take a collaborative approach from everyone to figure out how to make a real impact in our city.”
The Mercer County Homicide Task Force is investigating Mack’s death and no arrests have been made at this time. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call (609) 989-6406 or the Trenton Crime Stoppers tip line at (609) 278-8477.