2 shot, 1 killed as Trenton gun violence derails Bond Street cleanup


Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, sporting eyeglasses and a “We lift Trenton together” baseball cap, talks to a group of volunteers after they removed truckloads of garbage from Sanford Street on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (SULAIMAN ABDUR-RAHMAN — The Trentonian)

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, sporting eyeglasses and a “We lift Trenton together” baseball cap, talks to a group of volunteers after they removed truckloads of garbage from Sanford Street on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (SULAIMAN ABDUR-RAHMAN — The Trentonian)

A late-night shooting left one person injured and another man dead, spawning a homicide investigation derailing the new mayor’s community cleanup initiative on Bond Street Saturday morning.

Jibri Chisolm

Jibri Chisholm

“We are still going to do Bond Street,” Mayor Reed Gusciora said Saturday afternoon after he and a team of volunteers removed truckloads of garbage from nearby Sanford Street. “It got sidelined by the investigation, but we are going to continue on. It turned out Sanford was an all-day job anyway.”

Authorities identified the deceased victim as Jibri Chisholm, 26, of Trenton.

Gunfire erupted in Trenton’s North Ward about 11:55 p.m. Friday on Bond Street near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, triggering a ShotSpotter activation in the 600 block of MLK. Officers quickly arrived on scene and found one man suffering from a gunshot graze wound and Chisholm suffering from multiple gunshot wounds just before midnight, authorities said.

Both victims were rushed to Capital Health Regional Medical Center for treatment. Chisholm, also known as Chisolm, was pronounced dead a short time later. The other man was treated for a non-life-threatening injury, a Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman confirmed Saturday.

The latest homicide in this 7.5-square-mile capital city occurs at a time when the Trenton Police Department was implementing operational partnerships with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and other law-enforcement partners to arrest more lawbreakers in response to the recent spate of gun violence that has rocked Trenton since June.

Eight victims since June have been killed in the capital city.

“It’s a result of economic conditions and the lack of hope you see in these neighborhoods,” Gusciora said in an interview. “That’s why cleaning them up is so important.”

The City of Trenton under Gusciora’s leadership planned to host a North Ward community cleanup on Bond and Sanford streets Saturday morning. The homicide prevented the Bond Street cleanup from occurring and resulted in the city exclusively focusing its energy on removing truckloads of junk, rubbish and debris from nearby Sanford Street.

“This is so much more than trash,” the mayor said as volunteers, including students from The College of New Jersey, gathered around him off Sanford Street near Brunswick Avenue. “You see the challenges here.”

The lack of jobs and lack of opportunities pushes some residents into “doing illegal stuff” to make a living, Gusciora told The Trentonian. “Once guns become involved you get the turf wars. We have to create better educational opportunities for them and create jobs.”

North Ward Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson and East Ward Councilman Joseph Harrison participated in Saturday’s cleanup. “Never seen so much garbage,” Caldwell-Wilson told the newspaper.

“These problems are fixable,” Harrison said in an interview. “You have to take pride where you live at. You want to see it get better for the next generation of kids. I want to see these kids be doctors, be the future.”

John Harmon, a former Trenton mayoral candidate who grew up on Sanford Street, said this side of Trenton used to be defined by entrepreneurs and working-class spirit.

“It’s not the same neighborhood,” he said, “but hopefully we can turn it around. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t optimistic we could get the city on the right trajectory.”

So far this year, Trenton has experienced 17 killings, which includes three vehicular homicides and the death of Tahaij Wells, who was killed by police during an early morning shootout at a 24-hour arts festival.

TPD in recent weeks has executed a number of operational deployment strategies designed to crack down on those responsible for perpetuating violence as well as those who contribute to it, according to Trenton Police Capt. Stephen Varn, who issued a news release last week saying these strategies were developed based upon the analysis of current crime patterns and criminal intelligence information.

Between Aug. 6 and Aug. 31, officers made over 250 arrests for various offenses, police said. Included in those arrests were nine arrests for unlawful possession of a handgun, one arrest for unlawful possession of an assault rifle, six arrests for robbery, over 80 drug-related arrests, 70 arrests for active warrants and 29 juveniles were taken into custody for curfew violation.

Twenty firearms were confiscated or recovered and over 3,500 decks of heroin were seized during that time period last month, police said, adding cops also seized over 500 grams of marijuana, more than 135 pills and over $43,000 in suspected drug money.

Trenton Police officers were able to take these enforcement actions while still responding to over 8,000 calls for service, Varn reported in that Sept. 7 news release.

TPD continues to strategize with local, county, state and federal partners to develop plans and operations to address the violence, Varn said, adding Mayor Gusciora and Interim Police Director Pedro Medina have met with New Jersey’s highest-ranking law-enforcement officials earlier this month to examine the recent spate of violence that has afflicted the City of Trenton during Gusciora’s first three months in office.

But none of that was able to prevent Friday’s bloodshed.

The Mercer County Homicide Task Force is investigating Friday’s slaying. Authorities as of Saturday afternoon have not announced any arrests in the case, and no suspect descriptions have been released. Anyone with information on the fatal shooting may contact the task force at (609) 989-6406.

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