Teen murdered in North Trenton shooting remembered as ‘good kid’
It’s definitely summer in the capital city as Trenton mourns the death of yet another teenage murder victim.
Tashaughn Robinson, 17, was found unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds to his body about 9:20 p.m. Friday on the 600 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, getting gunned down just a short walk away from his Bond Street residence.
“He was a good kid,” a city man said Saturday afternoon of Robinson.
Down the street, a nearby makeshift memorial paid respects to the city’s latest homicide victim. The white cloth tied around a MLK Boulevard fence expressed “Rest in Peace” messages in Robinson’s memory as candles burned on the sidewalk.
“It takes a village to raise a child,” reads one of the messages on the memorial cloth. “You mentored my son. I’ll forever have a special place in my heart for you.”
Robinson’s death capped off a deadly, solemn week that began with a mass shooting at the Art All Night festival.
Trenton Police responded about 9:20 p.m. Friday to the scene upon getting a report of shots fired and quickly discovered Robinson’s unresponsive body. The teen victim was rushed to Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where he was ultimately pronounced dead about 9:35 p.m. or 15 minutes after the gun violence erupted, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
The teenager appears to have been killed in a drive-by shootout. Police sources who spoke on condition of anonymity believe the victim in the shooting actually returned fire. It was unclear whether the victim in the car was struck by retaliatory gunfire, and no other injuries were reported in the incident.
On Saturday afternoon, Robinson’s family and friends gathered on Bond Street to mourn his death in addition to residents grieving along MLK Boulevard where the shooting occurred.
Robinson was described as a “good kid” and “hard worker,” with residents saying he served as a local youth mentor and camp counselor.
One woman remembered him for his sense of humor and said Robinson was trying to better himself.
“He was like another son to me,” she said of Robinson. “He was a sweetheart. He was a comedian slash role model. He was a good person. Anybody who knows him knew he was special.”
Robinson recently got his driver’s license and was enjoying his new privileges on the road days before the fatal shooting, according to neighborhood residents who said they heard the Friday night gunshots.
Homicide detectives about 1:45 p.m. Saturday were canvassing MLK Boulevard hoping to get access to any potential surveillance footage of the murder.
Despite the street being named after the great civil rights icon who had advocated nonviolent resistance to injustice, MLK Boulevard stretches across a particularly depressed part of the North Ward that is known for shootings and criminal mayhem. That is the environment in which Robinson lived and where he died, the victim of hard circumstances in this era of escalating gun violence.
“Senseless,” one man said Saturday of the shooting that killed Robinson, whom he described as a “good kid.”
“It’s important that this summer not be a summer of escalating violence but of one of transformation and hope for the city,” Trenton Mayor-elect Reed Gusciora said Saturday in an interview with The Trentonian. “I’ve said it before, but public safety has to be Job One and unless parents know that even the pools are safe, I doubt they’ll send their kids to the pools, so we have to make sure that every neighborhood in this city is safe and secure, and I’ll be working with police to try to make that happen.”
Gusciora gets sworn into office July 1 and will have his work cut out for him.
The capital city was thrust into national headlines to start the week when a shootout erupted inside a warehouse at the Art All Night celebration in the Roebling Market section of the city.
Authorities said it was too early to know whether Friday’s murder is related to last Sunday’s melee, which resulted in police killing 32-year-old Tahaij Wells as he and other gunmen exchanged fire with a crowd of people running for their lives around them.
A 13-year-old boy was initially hospitalized in extremely critical condition in the Art All Night shooting, which also wounded alleged gunmen Amir Armstrong, 23, and Davone White, 26, who have both been charged with weapons offenses in the incident.
Several Trenton teenagers have gotten shot and killed in recent years, bringing continued shock and outrage to the 7.5-square-mile capital city. Convicted murderer Peter Charles Jr., 19, got convicted earlier this month for slaying 16-year-old Ciony Kirkman in a brazen April 2016 shooting in the city’s South Ward.
“It’s sad that this generation feels that they can resolve their conflicts with guns and violence,” Gusciora said Saturday. “We have to transform the dialogue in the city, and I will be working from Day One, but public safety is going to be a priority.”
In terms of the Friday night shooting that killed Robinson, the Mercer County Homicide Task Force is investigating his violent death. No arrests have been reported in the case as of Saturday afternoon. Anyone with information is asked to call police at (609) 989-6406.
Trentonian staff writer Penny Ray contributed to this report.