Today's Paper Latest stories Most commented Obits Wally Hall October calendar Weather Newsletters Traffic Puzzles/games
story.lead_photo.caption Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri (left) walks past investigators outside the warehouse building that was the scene of a shooting that left more than a dozen injured and at least one dead Sunday in Trenton, N.J.

TRENTON, N.J. -- Gunmen opened fire at an all-night arts and music festival early Sunday morning, sending people scrambling for safety, authorities said. One suspect was killed and 22 people, including at least one suspect, were injured.

Of the 17 people treated for gunshot wounds, four of them, including a 13-year-old boy, were critically injured but three had been upgraded to stable by evening, leaving only one man in critical condition, Mercer County prosecutor Angelo Onofri said.

The shots rang out about 2:45 a.m. Sunday as an estimated 1,000 or more people were attending the Art All Night Trenton festival that showcases local art, music, food and films.

Onofri said numerous fights inside and outside the building where the festival was held had prompted police to tell organizers that the event needed to be shut down because "there was a report that the mood inside the venue had been changing." Organizers were in the process of doing that when the shooting started, he said.

Authorities believe that several neighborhood gangs had a dispute at the venue and that multiple people began shooting at one another, with police returning fire, Onofri said.

"It absolutely could've been worse given the confined space and the number of shots that appear to have been fired," Onofri said, noting that about 1,000 people were in the area at the time.

"It's a massive crime scene. There's a lot of people that are injured," he said. "There are a lot of interviews that needed to be conducted."

There are no metal detectors in the building, Onofri said.

Reed Gusciora, the mayor-elect, confirmed there had been unspecified threats of violence before the shooting. He referred specifically to a Facebook post and said the city had increased the number of police and Fire Department workers at the festival. He said an investigation would determine whether police had responded appropriately to the threat.

Tahaij Wells, 33, the suspect who was killed, had recently been released from prison and had been on parole since February on homicide-related charges, Onofri said.

Amir Armstrong, 23, who was listed in stable condition, was charged with a weapons offense. It was not immediately known whether he had an attorney who could comment.

Multiple weapons were confiscated, including a handgun with an extended-capacity magazine containing more ammunition than is allowed under New Jersey law, Onofri said.

Krystal Knapp, an event volunteer, was knocked down as she headed for the exit, she later wrote in a Facebook post recapping the chaos.

"A kind woman pulled me up and over to the side and told me to stay down with her," Knapp wrote. "A woman three feet from us was shot in the leg. I'm not sure how many people were shot."

On Sunday, crime scene tape surrounded the site of the historic Roebling Wire Works building that shares a parking lot with a supermarket, bank and laundry.

Police were also investigating an attempted carjacking that occurred in a nearby alley. Onofri said police were working to determine whether it was connected to the shooting.

Gennie Darisme was getting ready to leave the festival when she heard shots and saw people running.

"There were people trampling other people, cars hitting other cars," she said.

When she was walking back to her car after the shots stopped, Darisme said, she saw someone bleeding on the ground, in handcuffs.

"People were running to him, trying to see his face, to see if he's a family member or a friend," she said.

Theresa Brown, who has been volunteering at Art All Night for 12 years, said she was leaving her volunteer shift when she heard "pop, pop, pop."

"I thought it was a car backfiring," she said.

The remainder of the two-day festival 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.

The injured were taken to area hospitals, where some were treated and released.

Trenton Mayor Eric E. Jackson said the violence can't be "discarded as just random violence; this is a public health issue."

"All shootings, whether large or small, are a crisis. It's a fact that our cities as well as our suburbs throughout America are experiencing an increase in public shootings and public unrest such as this," Jackson said.

Jackson added in a statement, "It saddens me that a public attack such as this is what has brought major attention to our capital city on Father's Day."

Gov. Phil Murphy arrived in Trenton on Sunday morning and spoke at Galilee Baptist Church about the need for stricter gun laws.

"It's yet another reminder of the senselessness of gun violence," said Murphy, a Democrat.

Franco Roberts said loud music is usually playing at the event, but that wasn't the case when he and his girlfriend arrived about 2:30 a.m. They were told that the building would be shut down, and they turned around to see people "squaring up to fight," Roberts told Homicide Watch Trenton, a community news site.

That's when he heard gunshots.

"Everybody ran toward the door," Roberts said. "And the people fighting got mixed with the crowd that was running, and they went out the door shooting."

Irvin Higgenbotham, who goes to the event every year, said he was walking with his bike when he heard gunfire. He was shot in the leg.

"It was like, 'pow, pow pow,' and then I was laying down on the ground," he said.

Information for this article was contributed by Mike Catalini, Ron Todt and Christina Paciolla of The Associated Press; by Kristine Phillips of The Washington Post; and by Mihir Zaveri of The New York Times.

A Section on 06/18/2018

Print Headline: Dispute ends in gunfire at N.J. festival

Sponsor Content


You must be signed in to post comments
  • abb
    June 18, 2018 at 9:14 a.m.

    Geez...guy was out of prison on early release....for murder? ...and the leftists blame the gun?! Bizarro world, esp. in NJ where their gun laws are in line with Europe.

  • Packman
    June 18, 2018 at 10:27 a.m.

    Notice all the silence from the usual gun grabbing suspects and the legacy media? This doesn't fit the narrative so they are quiet as church mice. And what about this mass shooting (17 people treated for gunshot wounds) busts the narrative? Several things.
    The gun used was not a sporting rifle.
    It was gang related.
    It took place in a state with some of THE most stringent gun laws in the country.
    It took place in a state with an incredibly low ratio of guns and gun owners to residents.
    The bad guys weren't young white males.
    It took place at 2:45 am.
    Where's Alyssa Milano? Where's Nancy Pelosi? Where's Moms Demand Action? Where's David Hogg? Where's the CNN town hall?......... Evidently, none of them gives a sh*t if the people getting shot and the circumstances don't fit the narrative. They are nothing but a bunch of f'ing hypocrites.

  • RobertBolt
    June 18, 2018 at 10:52 a.m.

    Packman has repeatedly stated that zero percent of shootings involve guns and has acknowledged being an anonymous troll, so what gives it any credibility here?

    Both my assertions are confirmed here: m.arkansasonline. com/news/2018/may/11/no-gun-troubles-yet-say-colleges-201805/

    The anonymous troll will probably respond with a lie that I said guns shoot themselves but will offer no link to prove its lie.

    So when the anonymous troll wants you to take it seriously, just remember Packman, who has never retracted its absurd claim, still says zero percent of shootings involve guns.

  • RobertBolt
    June 18, 2018 at 11:07 a.m.

    The fact is shootings involve both guns and shooters, but many gun fetishists insist on addressing only the shooter side of the equation. If they admit both elements are essential components of these tragedies, they inevitably must admit we have to address effective gun control as well as the shooters themselves. Packman provides just one example of their craven intellectual dishonesty.

  • Packman
    June 18, 2018 at 11:28 a.m.

    Boltar has repeatedly stated that guns fire themselves and has acknowledged being an anonymous tribal troll, so what gives it any credibility here?
    Packman wins, again, as Boltar offers only childish ad hominem attack in lieu of reasoned rebuttal. Alas, when Boltar cannot dispute an argument, he/she sees their only recourse to attempt diversion with personal attack. Point, game, set match.........
    "The fact is shootings involve both guns and shooters....." Boltar is slowly but surely coming around. Nice. Very nice. However, without the "shooter" the shooting NEVER happens.

  • RobertBolt
    June 18, 2018 at 11:37 a.m.

    Packman's derivative nonsense and clumsy mimicry serve as yet another de facto concession easily recognizable by its predictable lack of substance.

  • RobertBolt
    June 18, 2018 at 11:42 a.m.

    So Packman, do you finally retract your repeated and absurd claim that zero percent of shootings involve guns? If so, what percent of shootings do you now recognize involve guns?

  • RobertBolt
    June 18, 2018 at 11:59 a.m.

    ad hominem: directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

    A self-admitted anonymous troll is itself a fictional creation, so it cannot make a credible claim to being a victim of an ad hominem attack. Anything said of a work of fiction is arguably as true as the fiction itself. So quit whining, anonymous troll Packman.

  • Packman
    June 18, 2018 at 1:50 p.m.

    Boltar's derivative nonsense and clumsy mimicry serve as yet another de facto concession easily recognizable by its predictable lack of substance (See what I did there, Boltar?).
    And yet, given every chance, Boltar still cannot offer even a smidgen of reasoned rebuttal to my pointing out the hypocrisy of gun grabbing hypocrites like Boltar. Obviously, Boltar tacitly agrees with everything I said. Nice. Very nice.
    Let me extend an olive branch, Boltar. You speak of "effective" restrictions to the 2A. Would you mind to define "effective" as well as "reasonable"?
    Also, what would be the effect if all existing gun laws were followed? What percent of murders would occur if all laws were followed at all times? Looking forward to a civil discussion, Boltar.

  • RobertBolt
    June 18, 2018 at 2:37 p.m.

    So Packman, as I have told you many times, you have not established yourself as an actual person who is a fit partner for civil discourse. You could not even answer my question: do you finally retract your repeated and absurd claim that zero percent of shootings involve guns? If so, what percent of shootings do you now recognize involve guns?

    As I have said many times, you are a self-confessed anonymous troll presently unworthy of anything but identification as such and as a fictional being deserving of dismissal.

    Now that you have again been outed, go play with your trollmates.