Gunfire at New Jersey festival leaves 22 hurt, suspect dead
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 injured and one suspect dead, authorities said.
The chaos broke out at the Arts All Night festival in Trenton around 2:45 a.m. Sunday, according to investigators. "Neighborhood beef" was likely behind the shooting, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said.
Witnesses told officials they heard people arguing inside the historic Roebling Wire Works venue shortly before two gunmen opened fire. The fight soon spilled out into the street as attendees ran for cover.
Authorities said that about 1,000 people were in the area when the shooting started.
"Everybody ran," one witness told NBC10.
Another witness said he grabbed his girlfriend when the shooting started.
"[It] just kept going," Franco Roberts said.
At least one suspect, a 33-year-old man, was killed during the melee. A second suspect is in police custody, officials said.
The youngest victim was a 13-year-old who remains in critical condition at Capital Health Regional Center in Trenton, according to investigators. Three other victims are also in critical condition.
On Sunday, crime scene tape surrounded the venue, an old warehouse building that now shares a parking lot with a supermarket, bank and laundry facility. People could be seen dropping off flowers for the victims throughout the morning.
Ernie Rivas has owned a shop near the site of the shooting for 17 years and said he came back from the beach Sunday morning when he heard what happened.
"I've never seen this happen. It's bad, I feel bad, especially on Father's Day," Rivas said.
Theresa Brown said she's been volunteering at Art All Night for 12 years and has never seen or heard of violence like this. She said she was leaving her volunteer shift around 2 a.m. and heard "pop, pop, pop."
"I thought it was a car backfiring," she said.
She returned to the scene around 7 a.m. and saw the police.
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 senseless 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 has been 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.
Several weapons were recovered and the investigation is ongoing, officials said.
"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."
Local, state and federal law enforcement officials are working together in what has become a multi-agency investigation. Officials are also looking into whether police fired their weapons during the incident.
Read more from NBC New York.