(Surveillance footage of suspects in Gaines homicide case; courtesy of Union County Prosecutor's Office.)
RAHWAY, NJ--A recent press release from the Union County Prosecutor's Office requests the public's assistance in providing information related to the unsolved 2016 fatal shooting of 21-year-old Rahway business owner Jamal Gaines. Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Rahway Police Chief John Rodger made the joint announcement on Friday to coincide with the five-year anniversary of Gaines's murder.
These are the details of the night of February 26, 2016, as shared by authorities. At around 9:15 p.m. that Friday night, Rahway police officers responded to East Coast Boutique, the sneaker store owned by Gaines, where they found him suffering from a gunshot wound. He died soon after.
An investigation--in collaboration with the Rahway Police Department, the Union County Homicide Task Force, and the Union County Sheriff's Office Crime Scene Unit--concluded that minutes before police arrived, two individuals entered the store through a rear entrance with their faces covered. A physical altercation ensued, which concluded with the gunshot that killed Gaines.
Following this, the two suspects fled the building through the same rear entrance, ran down an alleyway, which a surveillance camera caught on tape. A notable detail included that one of the suspects ran with a distinct limp.
Upon careful review of this evidence, the Prosecutor's Office offered a description of the suspects. "The suspect with the limp appeared to be wearing dark pants, light-colored sneakers, and a dark hooded sweatshirt with a light-colored patch on the left arm. The other suspect appeared to be wearing a lighter-colored hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and brown or beige shoes. Both brandished handguns."
Acting Prosecutor Ruotolo, in concluding Friday's announcement, said, "At a remarkably young age, Mr. Gaines was living the American Dream–owner and operator of a small business he felt deeply passionate about. But that dream and his life were cut short in senseless fashion, and we remain as firmly committed today as when the crime first happened to seek and find justice for him and his loved ones.”
Finally, the Prosecutor's Office provided the following contact information for those who may know something and wish to come forward: "Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Ryan Kirsh at 908-347-1420. The Union County Crime Stoppers also are continuing to offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case; tips can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org."