Woman murdered in Trenton on New Year’s Eve had just attended church, other victim says
A city resident had planned to go out for a beer on New Year’s Eve.
Then, a female friend invited him to church.
“I said, ‘What the hell. I’ll do the right thing. I’ll go to church. It’ll be better than going to a bar and getting drunk and this is what happened,’” the 37-year-old male resident said New Year’s Day outside the home where his female friend was shot to death the previous night at approximately 11:30 p.m.
Police identified the man’s friend as 45-year-old Gladys Barrera, of Trenton. She was pronounced dead outside the home on the 100 block of Brown Street.
The male victim also suffered a graze wound to his head but was released from the hospital.
Recounting the incident, the male victim — with blood-soaked dressings wrapped around his head and abrasions on his cheek — said outside his residence on Monday that the two had just returned back to his place after purchasing some take-out chicken on their way home from church.
“I was opening the door when I heard the loud boom and she just fell right there,” the victim said, noting everything happened so quickly. “I thought I lost my eye because I couldn’t see. It was because all the blood I had in my eye that I couldn’t see. My glasses may have saved my eye.”
The man grabbed his phone and quickly called 9-1-1.
“Five minutes later, everybody was here,” the victim said. “Still it wasn’t quick enough. She didn’t make it.”
New Year’s Eve was only the second time the two had hung out.
On Christmas Eve, they also went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.
“We weren’t dating or anything,” the man said. “We’re just friends.”
He was unsure why they were targeted, but feels someone might have been after her.
“If they were out to get me, I don’t know why because I don’t have any enemies,” the mild-mannered victim said, noting he’s a nice guy. “I wouldn’t think she does either. She’s a nice girl. She doesn’t drink. She doesn’t go to bars. She only goes to church.”
However, the man said the female victim had an ex-boyfriend who was the “jealous type.”
“He wouldn’t even let her go to church,” the man said.
The South Ward street where the murder occurred is known as a quiet neighborhood. Christmas wreaths and decorations were hung up on houses. Right near the murder scene, trees were decorated with red ribbon and bows.
“All the neighbors are great,” one neighbor said. “We all look out for each other here.”
In stark contrast, at least a dozen bullets riddled the Brown Street home and a neighbor’s home from the gunfire. Blood from the shooting stained the snow outside the front stairs of the home that has two rental apartments.
The victim said the shots came from the direction of Stanton Street.
Video surveillance cameras were fitted to the home where the murder occurred, but they were not recording at the time of the incident.
One neighbor said fireworks were going off because of New Year’s Eve so he really didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary with the gunfire commotion.
The victim said he and his female friend were at church for two and a half hours before they left to get chicken. When they were at the chicken place, a car pulled out in front, but nobody got out, he said, hinting they may have been followed.
“I could never imagine this happening,” the victim said after cleaning the blood from his front steps. “It’s not something you want to go through.”
Sunday night’s murder marks the 24th homicide to occur in Trenton in 2017, which includes two hit-and-run deaths.
Of the 24 killings in 2017, 20 victims died by gunfire, two died by stabbing and two died by automobile.
Medical personnel have been so busy that The Trentonian selected all first responders working in the capital city as the newspaper’s 2017 Persons of the Year.
Trentonian staff writer Penny Ray contributed to this report