BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Bridgewater man and a Linden man were arrested in connection with a homicide on Bayberry Road in Bridgewater Saturday evening.
Hafeez A. Brown, 33, of Linden, was charged with first degree murder, second degree possession of a firearm and second degree unlawful possession of a firearm. George A. Bease, 32, of Bridgewater, was charged with second degree possession of a firearm while in the course of committing a CDS offense.
Both were taken to Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.
According to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson, at about 11:53 p.m. Saturday, Bridgewater Township Police responded to a 911 call that was reporting an individual suffering from a gunshot wound and traveling on North Bridge Street toward Route 22. Bridgewater and Somerville police found the vehicle on Route 22 East and made contact with the occupants of the car.
Officers, Robertson said, found an adult male suffering from a single gunshot wound, and immediately began lifesaving measures while waiting for emergency medical personnel.
The victim, Robertson said, was identified as Roobino Philemon, 30, of West Orange. He was taken to an area trauma center, where he was pronounced deceased.
Bridgewater officers learned that the shooting incident had occurred near a residence on Bayberry and Foothill roads. They responded there and made contact with several people leaving from a home on Bayberry Road, with more people still inside.
A mutual aid call for service was requested, and Somerset County Law Enforcement Officers from numerous municipalities, along with New Jersey State Police Troopers from the Somerville Barracks, responded and formed a tactical perimeter. In addition, a brief shelter in place was initiated for local residents.
The Somerset County SWAT Team was activated, Robertson said, along with County Crisis Negotiators, who made contact with five people inside the residence, who exited without incident.
During the investigation, Robertson said, they found that Philemon, along with another person, had tried to access a birthday party that was being held at a home on Bayberry Road. When they arrived, they were told to leave because they were not welcome at the party.
Philemon, Robertson said, left in his car with the other individual, and stopped on Foothill Road near the intersection of Bayberry Road. The homeowner then walked up to the vehicle and told Philemon, who was driving the vehicle, to leave.
Robertson said that while the vehicle was on Foothill Road, Brown walked up to the rear of the car and shot multiple rounds in the direction of the car, hitting Philemon once. While still operating the vehicle, Robertson said, Philemon began to drive down Foothill Road and told his front seat passenger that he had been shot.
From there, Robertson said, the vehicle stopped on Foothill Road so the front seat passenger could take control of the vehicle and call 911. On the way to the hospital, Robertson said, the driver saw a police vehicle on Route 22 East near Grove Street in Bridgewater, and he stopped there.
When officers got to Bayberry Road, Robertson said, three adult males and two adult females exited the residence, including Brown and Bease. When officers executed a search warrant, they found a substantial quantity of a controlled dangerous substance (marijuana), plus two firearms and ammunition.
Robertson said the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner's Office will perform an autopsy on Philemon to determine cause of death. The investigation is on-going.
Anyone with information relating to the incident is asked to contact the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 908-722-4111, the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100 or via the STOPit app. People can also call the Crime Stoppers' Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS.
All anonymous tips will be kept confidential.