Shots rang out at a massive house party in New Jersey late Saturday night, leaving at least a dozen victims wounded and two people dead.
New Jersey State Police responded to a house in Bridgeton in the Fairfield Township area, about 50 miles west of Atlantic City, for reports of shots fired at a party attended by anywhere from 100 to 200 people.
As of 9:50 a.m. Sunday, police were able to confirm that at least 12 people had been injured and that they were treating the event as a mass shooting. The conditions of all the victims were unclear, but at least one person was said to be in critical condition.
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Authorities said the two victims fatally shot were a 30-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman; their names have not been released.
The house is across the street from a school and a cemetery; at first light, police were conducting a grid search in nearby woods.
Police could be seen searching the area with dogs over a large perimeter.
It was unclear who opened fire or why, and no arrests were immediately reported.
Melissa Helmbrecht, who works for Hopeloft, a Bridgeton advocacy group for at-risk young people, said several youths in the group were at the party at the time of the shooting.
“It was hundreds of people, our neighbors, who were just getting together because it was the first really warm, nice night. There were a lot of parties and get-togethers throughout the community, and this was probably the biggest," Helmbrecht said.
John Fuqua told NBC10 his family members were at the party and his nephew had to run for his life as gunshots rang out from the woods.
“My nephew said he was having a good time and next thing all he heard was shooting and he was running for his life. He got on the ground, he had to crawl. He stepped over a dead body," he said.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement urging anyone with information to step forward to bring the responsible parties to justice.
"This despicable and cowardly act of gun violence only steels our commitment to ensuring New Jersey leads the nation in passing and enforcing strong and commonsense gun safety laws. No community should ever experience what occurred last night in Fairfield," he said.
A joint press conference has been scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. between Murphy, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, and Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Jersey State Police Bridgeton Station at 856-451-0101 or submit a tip via the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office tip website.