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Saturday, 10 March 2012

One of Roselle shooting victims was involved with Crips gang; search continues for gunman

01:50 |

The hunt is still on for a lone gunman who shot four unarmed men in front of a house Thursday night, then escaped on foot in a quiet Roselle neighborhood, authorities said today. Two died and two were shot in the legs, which authorities are calling a "targeted" shooting — and one of the dead men was a Crips gang member, said Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow. The shots were fired just after 10 p.m. in front of the house on Walnut Street, after the gunman emerged from a dark yard across the street, authorities say. The shooter killed two 24-year-old men: Breyon Williams, a man identified as the Crip member, was shot once behind the ear and died in the yard; and Anthony Howard, who lived at the Walnut Street house, was shot in the back and later died at University Hospital, authorities said. Two victims, an 18-year-old from Roselle and a 25-year-old Newarker, survived. All four victims were unarmed when they were shot, Romankow said. A possible link to a homicide at a BP gas station in Elizabeth on Wednesday is being investigated, Romankow said. He said possible gang connections of the three victims are also being probed. "This is not a random spree. This was an isolated and targeted event," Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley said this morning. "The individual will be brought to justice. I promise." Romankow said authorities are investigating the shooting's connection to local street gangs. Williams was involved with the Crips gang, the prosecutor said, according to records from the state Department of Corrections. There may be 100 or so people in Union County affiliated with the Crips, Romankow said. "There are Crips throughout this county. It's not just Roselle," he said. Family and friends of Howard at the house this afternoon mourned the killings. Beverly Howard, one victim’s mother, said she didn’t know any specifics about how — or why — her son was killed. "We’re just trying to piece it together, like everyone else," she said. "It’s two families that’s lost," added Eric Drake, who said he was a cousin of Howard. Anti-violence activists are planning a demonstration Saturday at the intersection near the crime scene. Several have said that the violence between Union County cities crosses municipal borders — and is continuing to escalate. "The summer’s about to start. And as we know, when it warms up, things start happening," said Donald Givens, of the National United Youth Council’s Roselle chapter. The two deaths Thursday bring the total to seven homicides in Union County this year.

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