Arrest made in deadly shooting of two at party in New Jersey

Police gather at the scene of a shooting in Fairfield Township, N.J., Sunday, May 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

An arrest has been made after a mass shooting at a party in New Jersey which killed two people and occurred over the weekend.

36-year-old Kevin Dawkins from Bridgetown, New Jersey, has been charged with multiple weapon offenses. The Fairfield, New Jersey shooting, which killed 2 people and injured 12 others, was supposed to be a birthday party. The New Jersey State Police received noise complaints around 11 p.m with the gunfire, which the party originally believed to were fireworks, starting at around 11:30 p.m., according to Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan. “This was a birthday party turned deadly” the colonel said. The Attorney General of New Jersey, Gubir S. Grewal, called the mass shooting a targeted attack. Law enforcement has not said if Dawkins actually did any shooting at the party and has declined to say how he was involved.

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The charges against Dawkins are just allegations, he has not been convicted of any offenses in this case yet. These charges are: possession of prohibited weapons and devices, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a handgun without a permit, and certain persons not to have weapons. Dawkins made his first appearance in court on Monday, with another hearing being held on Thursday, where the hearing will considered if he should be detained at the county jail. Jennifer Webb-McRae, who is the County Prosecutor, said her office will ask for a pre-trial detention order. The police arrest report from the Bridgeton City police illustrates that police arrested Dawkins early Sunday morning, he was “hiding in a wooded area” off Spruce street, which is two and a half miles from the crime scene on Commerce Street.

The report states that Dawkins supposedly was in possession of a loaded 40-caliber Glock 23 pistol with a “large capacity magazine”. There were 22 Smith & Wesson Blazer rounds in the handgun, Police Officer Dominic Pizzo states. “Officers received an anonymous call advising there was a subject in possession of a handgun in a wooded area behind Maplewood Gardens Apartment Complex,” Pizzo states in the probable cause affidavit portion of the report.

“Upon arrival, officers observed the defendant laying down beside a tree with the handgun clutched in his right hand,” Pizzo states. “The subject was ordered by officers to drop the gun at which time he complied.” “This was an excellent job by Officer Pizzo and other officers who assisted in apprehending this suspect without injury to themselves or the suspect, as it could have gone south quickly,” Police Chief Michael Gaimari commented on the officers’ performance. “A birthday party is supposed to be a joyous event not a target for those hell bent on inflicting harm on a community,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in response to the incident. “We cannot normalize what we saw. We will not stop fighting to protect our community.”





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