Three shot, two killed in Trenton overnight
Wild shootings in a South Trenton neighborhood left two people dead, including a father of eight who was gunned down early Saturday, according to relatives at the crime scene.
Shawn “Squirm” Harrell, a loving father who would have turned 41 next Sunday, was shot and killed about 2:30 a.m. Saturday while he was standing next to his blue Dodge Durango, according to his grieving family members.
“They came to my house about 3-something in the morning and told me my brother is dead,” SAGE Coalition Director of Urban Affairs Earlie Harrell, better known on the streets as Messiah, said as police continued their homicide investigation. “My brother was a family man. He took care of his kids. He’s just dead for no reason now.”
Responding officers found Shawn Harrell suffering from multiple gunshot wounds on the side of a Power Street residence in the area of Daymond Street. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, officials said.
The other homicide victim was identified as Anthony Flowers, 43, of Pemberton, who was pronounced dead at the scene after being shot multiple times on the 500 block of Lamberton Street about 9:20 p.m. Friday, authorities said. That shooting also struck and injured a woman.
Officers responded to a shooting-in-progress and found Flowers located in the vestibule hall space of 538 Lamberton St. He was unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene. The female victim was shot inside the Lamberton residence, suffering a gunshot wound to the arm. She was transported to the hospital to treat her wounds, which were not considered life-threatening, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
Both homicides occurred in the same neighborhood and less than half a mile away from one another. “We have to make sure we work together to stop the shootings, stop the violence and stop the murders,” Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson told a crowd of gatherers during a “Ride for Peace” tour stop Saturday afternoon at the intersection of Oakland Street and Hoffman Avenue. The entourage featured more than 100 motorcyclists who had accompanied the mayor to some of the roughest neighborhoods in the 7.5-square-mile capital city.
Shawn Harrell’s SUV appears to have sustained gunshot damage on the front window. Several hours after getting murdered, his vehicle remained parked at the end of Daymond Street near Bridge Street. Lying on the ground next to the blue Durango was a white baseball cap that family members said belonged to Shawn Harrell.
Yellow police tape blocked off the rear end of Daymond Street as detectives analyzed the scene and took photos.
Harrell’s grieving relatives displayed raw emotions on Saturday as they found themselves dealing with another family tragedy. Indeed, the shooting death of Harrell is not the first time the family lost a loved one to gun violence
Nyquan R. Owens, 20, died from gun violence on Aug. 3, 2013, in a city shooting that occurred on the 300 block of Brunswick Avenue. That case remains unsolved.
Other family members described Shawn Harrell as a “good dude” who was murdered as an “innocent bystander.”
“It’s hurtful. It’s not fair,” said Robin Green, one of Shawn Harrell’s cousins who considered him more as a sibling. “Get these guns off the street.”
Shawn Harrell had eight children and a longtime fiancée, according to his relatives. They said he liked to listen to music and have fun.
A Daymond Street resident and family friend said he was inside his house when Harrell was gunned down. He said he heard multiple gunshots and immediately started ducking for cover. “I’m debating if I should go to work,” he said about 8 a.m. Saturday, “because I didn’t get any sleep.”
In the wake of the overnight violence, Mayor Jackson and Police Director Ernest Parrey Jr. participated Saturday morning in the annual prayer walk led by the Rev. Barry Vazquez, pastor and founder of Trenton-based Living by Grace Fellowship Inc.
“We prayed at the police station. We prayed at the fire department and at City Hall as well,” Parrey said in an interview with The Trentonian. “It’s about community getting together.”
The prayer walk was already planned for Saturday before the overnight slayings, with the event intended to promote peace and fellowship. “It just so happens that it coincided with the events of last night,” Parrey said, “but we had a great turnout.”
In terms of the latest bloodshed to rock the South Trenton community, “We are going to do everything in our powers to locate and arrest the offenders,” Parrey added. “We are going to be paying special attention to that area because we don’t want to see this violence escalate any more than it already has.”
The mayor and police director both participated in the “Ride for Peace” tour following the Saturday morning prayer walk.
Both events were intended to send one message: “We want to stop the gun violence, we want to stop the shootings; we want to bring peace back in the city,” Jackson said in an interview with The Trentonian. “We had two shootings last night, two deaths. That’s intolerable in our city. We’re not going to stand for it, so I am urging folks to come off the sidelines, get involved, let’s talk up, let’s be up, but most of all let’s encourage our kids, our people around us, put the guns down and let’s talk things out as opposed to shooting things out.”
Both shooting incidents are being investigated by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force , and detectives will probe whether the incidents were related. Anyone with information about either slaying is urged to call the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406 or the Trenton Police Confidential Tip Line at (609) 989-3663.