Trenton police hope to curb violent crime with new street crime unit

Earlier this week, Trenton police implemented a new “specialized street crime unit” aimed at replacing the department’s Tactical Anti-Crime unit that was disbanded in December 2012.

“The big difference between this new unit and the previous TAC unit is that TAC had no general order laying out its function, duties, responsibilities and tactics,” Trenton Police Director Ralph Rivera Jr. said Tuesday evening. “This new unit has a mission with clearly defined tactics and techniques.”

The new yet-to-be-named unit consists of two squads, with eight officers assigned to each squad. And one officer on each squad has a K-9 partner. These 16 officers, Rivera said, were already assigned to TPD’s Patrol Division. “This is a unit within the patrol,” Rivera said.
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Man found dead on sidewalk across the street from Franklin Elementary School

Update: This man has been identified as 79-year-old Roman Vila, and his death has been ruled the result of natural causes. Police say he suffered a cardiac arrest.

A man was found dead Thursday morning lying on the sidewalk outside a residence on William Street, and police are calling the death “suspicious.”

According to Trenton Police Lt. Stephen Varn, around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, officers were dispatched to the 200 block of William Street where they found a man lying on the sidewalk. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

It’s too early in the investigation to speculate, Varn said, “but right now it’s a suspicious death.”
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Daytime shooting in front of bakery sets new murder record

TRENTON — The city has hit a new all-time low: a new all-time high in murders.

The city’s 32nd murder took place in front of the Italian People’s Bakery on the first block of Butler Street Thursday afternoon.

Witnesses described the victim running from two men down Butler Street when they heard five shots. Employees of the bakery found the victim unresponsive.

The previous record was 31 murders that was set in 2005. Stick with the Trentonian for further updates.

City man found beaten to death in his home

Police are investigating its 28th homicide this year after finding a man beaten to death in his home early Friday morning.

Police were sent to the 200 block of Rosemont Avenue around 12:52 a.m. on reports of a sick or injured person that may be dead. Herbert Cummings, 47, of Trenton, was found unresponsive by his roommate and called police. He was pronounced dead at 1:12 a.m. from blunt force trauma, Lt. Steven Varn said. Police are determining if Cummings’ death was the result of a home invasion or a domestic incident.

A neighbor said Cummings had been living in Trenton for a year after coming to the United States from Africa.

He pretty much stayed to himself,” Minister Phillip Ravenell said. “He’d always give you a pleasant hello.”

Regardless of the circumstances, nothing justifies taking a life,” he said. “It’s something you can’t recover from, it creates a void you that can’t fill.”

Det. Jason Snyder from the TPD and Det. Matthew Norton from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office are on the case.

Anyone with information regarding the homicide can call the Trenton Police confidential tipline at (609) 989-3663 or the Crime Stoppers tipline at (609) 278-8477. Those wishing to text a tip regarding the homicide can send a message labeled TCSTIPS to Trenton Crime Stoppers at 274637.

Police investigating homicide on Rosemont Avenue

Trenton police are on the scene of a homicide investigation on the 200 block of Rosemont Avenue.

Trentonian reporter Brian Dzenis is reporting from the location.

He’s reporting the victim, a male, was apparently beaten to death in a possibly domestic violence incident in a home on that block some time after midnight.

Police have not taped off any area outside on the block, but officers are currently guarding the home as detectives work inside.
Stay with Homicide Watch Trenton as the story develops.

Trial set for alleged revenge murder in Trenton

TRENTON – A trial date has finally been set in the case of the witness allegedly killed for testifying against a boyfriend, who, officials charge, arranged her retaliation assassination from behind prison bars in 2005.

Mercer County Superior Court Judge Andrew Smithson said alleged mastermind Anthony Kidd, his brother Henry Kidd Jr. and suspected triggerman and cousin Darrell Scott will go on trial on Sept. 23.

Anthony Kidd

Anthony Kidd

Smithson ruled after Assistant Mercer County Prosecutor Lew Korngut disclosed that a codefendant had given cops a full statement about what happened and why, and that he’s prepared to testify for the state at the trial.

The prosecutor also said he has a cell-phone mapping expert who will trace all the calls between Trenton and Alabama in which the ambush murder of Kendra DeGrasse was set up eight years ago on the night of March 24.
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Man shot dead in West Trenton

After a one-day reprieve, the city’s criminal element was at it again with the gun violence. From last Friday through Tuesday, nine people were shot, which includes Sidique Richardson (Howlen), who was killed Friday night on Jersey Street and Home Avenue.

On Thursday, around 7:00 p.m. on Bryn Mawr Avenue near Volk Street, a man was shot dead. According to police, the victim was sitting in the car when the suspect fired into the vehicle. The victim got out of the vehicle, ran to the backyard of a residence and collapsed.
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Man killed on Home Avenue in Trenton was 22-year-old father

TRENTON — City police are still investigating the shooting that left one man dead Friday night.

Sidiq Howlen was gunned down in front of the Community Mini Market in the 100 block of Home Avenue. Police sources told The Trentonian, the shots that killed the 22-year-old were fired from a silver or possibly gray station wagon. According to the source there were several men who returned fire on the car that fled the area. The second man who was struck in the leg was a bystander.

A friend of the victim, who declined to give his name, said on Friday night that the 22-year-old was a family man and a good guy. The scene Friday night was intense as many residents gathered on their front steps to watch the investigation, some expressed anger that police had not removed Howlen’s body from the scene while others shook their heads and tried to deal with the situation as best they could.
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Former deputy attorney general who killed state worker with his car is refusing rehab

TRENTON — A Pennington man is being held without bail for ignoring a court order to check himself into an alcohol rehabilitation clinic after a 2010 crash left a city employee dead.

Keith Costill


Keith Costill, 57, a former N.J. deputy attorney general, was sentenced in June 2012 to five years of probation after he pled guilty to assault by automobile, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office.
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Trenton man indicted on 2010 murder charge

TRENTON — A city man accused of shooting a Hamilton resident to death was indicted on Friday for murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.

Kevin Wesley


Kevin Wesley, 28, allegedly shot Victor Thompson in the neck while the victim was sitting in his car on Carver Lane on Nov. 18, 2010, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office.
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