2nd Suspect Charged in Deadly NJ Arts Festival Shooting; 17 of 21 Victims Were Shot, Others Hurt in the Chaos - NBC New York

2nd Suspect Charged in Deadly NJ Arts Festival Shooting; 17 of 21 Victims Were Shot, Others Hurt in the Chaos

Officials said 17 of the victims were shot while others who were hiding behind cars during the shooting were hurt when the vehicles began to move.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Probe Continues After Fatal NJ Arts Fest Shooting

    A New Jersey arts and music festival turned deadly early Sunday morning when a barrage of bullets flew into a large crowd, sending attendees stampeding and leaving 22 people, including a 13-year-old boy, injured and one suspect dead, authorities said. Ida Siegal reports.

    (Published Monday, June 18, 2018)

    What to Know

    • 21 people were hurt and a suspected shooter was killed in the weekend havoc at the arts festival in Trenton

    • 17 of the victims were shot while others who were hiding behind cars during the shooting were hurt when the vehicles began to move

    • Two people have now been charged in the case; both were wounded in the fray and remain hospitalized

    A second suspect in a mass shooting at a 24-hour Trenton art festival that left nearly two dozen hurt and one man dead was charged Tuesday as elected officials and community leaders met at a local church to talk about ways forward amid gang violence. 

    Davone White, 26, of Trenton, faces multiple counts of illegally owning a weapon, including possession of a large capacity magazine, in connection with the gunfire at the Art All Night festival in downtown Trenton early Sunday.

    The first suspect charged -- 23-year-old Amir Armstrong -- is accused of unlawful possession of a weapon. Both suspects were wounded in the fray and remain hospitalized, though Armstrong is in worse condition. No court dates have been set for either, nor was attorney information available. 

    One man, Tahaij Wells, was killed in the shooting. The 21 people hurt were injured either by gunfire or the chaos of people fleeing. Local, state and federal investigators are still trying to determine exactly how Wells was killed. He had been on parole since February for homicide, police said. 

    Officials have said several fights sparked by disputes between neighborhood gangs broke out prior to the shooting. 

    "Prior to the shooting, the Trenton Police Department began dispersing individuals," Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said. "Those individuals, however, continued to loiter and additional fights broke out and then the shooting occurred." 

    Witnesses told officials they heard people arguing inside the historic Roebling Wire Works venue moments before gunfire erupted. The fight soon spilled out into the street as attendees ran for cover. 

    Police said multiple people, including Wells, 32, and Armstrong then opened fire at each other. At least 1,000 people were in the area at the time. 

    One witness said he grabbed his girlfriend when the shooting started and the barrage went on for a long time. 

    "[It] just kept going," Franco Roberts said. 

    Officials said 17 of the victims were shot while others who were hiding behind cars during the shooting were hurt when the vehicles began to move. 

    Police are also investigating an attempted carjacking in an alley behind the venue. Investigators have not yet determined whether it was related to the shooting. 

    Investigators recovered multiple weapons after the shooting. One weapon was a handgun with an extended capacity magazine that contained more ammunition than permitted under New Jersey law, officials said. 

    Speaking to reporters on Sunday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he was troubled the shooting happened just days after he signed tougher gun laws into legislation. 

    "This is yet another reminder of the senselessness of gun violence," he said. "For those responsible, we will bring the full extent of the law and justice to bear on them." 

    Art All Night Trenton began Saturday afternoon and was scheduled to conclude Sunday afternoon. The remainder of the festival, which promoted "community, creativity and inspiration," was canceled. 

    "We're very shocked. We're deeply saddened. Our hearts ache and our eyes are blurry but our dedication and resolve to building a better Trenton through community, creativity and inspiration will never fade. Not tonight. Not ever," festival organizers posted on social media Sunday. 

    "My sympathy goes out to the victims and their families," Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson said at a Sunday morning press conference. "All shootings are a crisis. This is not just a random act of violence — this is a public health issue." 

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