Man shot in the head in Trenton Wednesday afternoon
The police response was quick: cops sped through the city, down Perry to Passaic, then over to Spring Street.
But it was too late.
A man was murdered at close range Wednesday afternoon. He was gunned down on a sidewalk outside of a home.
He died where he fell and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
“It’s like we live in a Third World country,” a man said as he watched police cover the victim with a white sheet. “The guys around here do what they have to do to get by. And nobody cares. Not even those police.”
Officials say ShotSpotter technology detected 12 gunshots near 317 Spring Street around 3:40 p.m. Investigators believe the victim was shot at close range. He suffered at least one gunshot wound to the head.
A crossing guard who was working at the intersection of Spring and West Hanover streets said she was startled when she heard shots ring out.
“I was on the corner of Calhoun [Street] and Pennington [Avenue] for 28 years and never had anything like this happen,” she said.
Another man who lived nearby said he had just stepped off the bus when he encountered the familiar flashing blue and red lights of cop cars and a roped-off crime scene. He said he has grown tired of the senseless violence in the capital city and doesn’t understand why people can’t settle their squabbles without gunplay.
“Why is everybody f***ing killing each other in Trenton. It don’t make any sense. We gotta stop this bullsh**. Knuckle up,” the man said as he played a scratch-off lottery ticket from behind the crime scene tape.
A citizen at the scene relayed the victim’s identification to this newspaper and it was confirmed by law enforcement sources: 28-year-old Quanmir Spears was shot by a suspect who entered a house on the same block after the killing.
That suspect is now in custody.
Sources say detectives learned the shooter wore a fluorescent yellow hooded-sweatshirt during the murder, and that he ran into a nearby house after the killing. Detectives from the Street Crimes Unit then knocked on the door to that home and the suspect answered, according to law enforcement sources who say the man tried to run away but was quickly tackled.
Mayor Reed Gusciora confirmed that police had a “person of interest” in custody.
Gusciora said the shooting appeared to be a “retaliatory incident,” possibly between rival factions that “seem to be going back and forth.”
Police are still working to determine if there is a connection between Wednesday’s killing and a shootout Tuesday morning that injured two people in the Wilbur section of the city.
“It’s neighborhoods against neighborhoods,” the mayor said of the trend away from traditional gangs like the Bloods and Crips. “They all appear to be young people, from late teens to early 20s. It is just a disturbing trend that is happening in urban areas where kids have lack of direction, lack of hope and they’re prone to neighborhood-type gangs.”
The shooting happened near the location of a wild shootout that rocked Trenton in August, which prompted city officials to decry the violence at a news conference the following week. A city teen was injured in that firefight on the 100 block of Passaic Street after someone unloaded up to 31 shots in rapid-succession bursts.
Spears, a convicted felon, was arrested during a gun and drug raid in 2015. He has been a suspect in several capital city shootings and was also interviewed as part of a 2012 murder investigation regarding the killing of 22-year-old Jared Littlejohn. His attorney at the time said Spears was not interested in cooperating with prosecutors.
Court records show Spears’ convictions include charges of gun and drug possession, as well as eluding.
Trentonian staff writers Penny Ray and Isaac Avilucea contributed to this report.