Prosecutors release more footage of Trenton Art All Night shootout
Footage that appears to be from the surveillance system at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency shows people scattering in all directions as gunfire erupted in the early-morning hours of June 17 at the Art All Night festival.
The 17-second clip, released Friday by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, doesn’t show the shootout inside the Roebling Wire Works warehouse. But it does capture someone falling to the ground, in the middle of a scrum, after possibly being shot as others scrambled to safety.
The individual on the ground doesn’t appear to be one of the three suspects involved in the shootout.
Others were captured taking cover behind a Miller Lite trailer, as cops ran and took up tactical positions along the building.
The bird’s-eye surveillance appears to be from the building adjacent to the Wire Works warehouse and points toward Dye Street showing the outside of the warehouse and the parking lot.
The prosecutor’s office earlier in the week released several body-camera videos and 911 recordings from the mass shooting that injured at least 22 people, including 17 who suffered gunshot wounds.
Those videos also didn’t show the shooting, only the police response to the aftermath.
Two of the three suspects, Amir Armstrong and Davone White, have been charged with weapons offenses following the shootout. A third suspect, Tahaij Wells, was fatally shot by the police in the melee.
Wells was shown in body camera handcuffed on his stomach near the side of the Wire Works building, closest to the warehouse doors.
Body-camera footage showed cops carrying Armstrong, who was shot in the head, from inside the warehouse to an awaiting police SUV parked outside the Wire Works building.
More clips showed cops tending to gunshot victims as they swept through the massive complex securing the scene and get walking wounded to ambulances.
Emergency dispatchers were flooded by phones calls from people reporting the chaos.
“We need every ambulance available,” a dispatcher said on one of the transmissions. “The tally just keeps going up.”
The clips also showed White, who witnesses said was shot from behind by cops, sprawled out in the middle of the road near the intersection of Dye and Genesee streets.
Someone reported being carjacked in that area by an individual they believed was involved in the shootout, according to radio transmissions.
Authorities have said they were working to determine whether there was a connection to an attempted carjacking and the firefight.
A crashed car was found abandoned in an alley where police were called to secure and guard it, according to the radio transmissions.
Trenton Detectives Eliezer Ramos, Matthew Bledsoe, Michael Cipriano and Officer Robert Furman have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.
Ramos, who is shown in witness video guarding the area where White lay in the street, is a member of the violent crimes unit.
Trenton Police’s specialized units don’t normally wear body cameras, only patrol officers.
A body cam worn by Furman showed him being escorted by Sgt. Jason Woodhead to the hospital. It’s unclear if the two other detectives on leave wore body cams during the shootout, which broke out as officials shut down the event following several altercations.
On the drive over, Woodhead and Furman discussed the police presence at the festival.
“Should have metal detectors out there,” Woodhead said.
“That’s what Cipriano was saying, like metal detectors on the entrace,” Furman responded.
“How you only hire four [officers]. I know you expect the city you’re in to [pitch in],” Woodhead said. “What the hell? I didn’t even know about it till I came in to work today. Not that anyone needed to tell me. But I’m just saying. They didn’t give anyone a heads up on anything. Should have prepared better.”
“It’s a huge thing,” Furman said. “You figure there’d be more than four people hired.”
“I been there where the crowd was way more unruly and a lot of fights,” Woodhead said. “But nothng like that. OK, let’s stop talking about it.”
Event organizers have faced questions over the decision to hire only four overtime Trenton cops as security for an event that has attracted tens of thousands of visitors every year.
Organizers stressed the Trenton cops were part of a security deployment that included four more Mercer County Sheriff’s officers and a security detail.
Police body-camera videos also showed people gathered outside of the trauma center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where Amir Armstrong’s mother pleaded with cops for information as they instructed people to back up while they roped off the front entrance with crime tape.
“I just want to make sure it’s not him,” the woman said.
The shootout stemmed from an ongoing feud between warring neighborhood factions, authorities said.
Prosecutors haven’t responded to several unaddressed questions from The Trentonian regarding whether investigators determined who opened fire first or which officers fatally shot Wells.
The Trentonian spoke to one witness who believed she got shot by police officers in the chaos, though officials haven’t confirmed if any of the 17 bystanders who were shot were struck by cops’ bullets.
A spokeswoman for prosecutor Angelo Onofri said in an email no other information would be provided Friday.