Police & Fire

Plainfield Man Sentenced to Over 27 Years for Fatal Shooting of Innocent Bystander

d77e739a0c5303a58de8_mini_magick20180305-102979-1fncghv.jpg
d77e739a0c5303a58de8_mini_magick20180305-102979-1fncghv.jpg

A Plainfield man charged with shooting an innocent man in 2015 has been sentenced to state prison for 27 years and six months, Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Monday.

In accordance with the No Early Release Act of New Jersey, Abdul Ward, 26, must serve at least 85 percent of that sentence before the possibility of parole under the terms set down Friday by state Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch.

Shortly after 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, 2015, Plainfield Police Division patrol units rushed to the 600 block of Berckman Street on a report of a drive-by shooting, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jeremiah Lenihan, who prosecuted the case. Wilson Valdez, a 31-year-old who had been working in a nearby convenience store at the time, was struck by gunfire and pronounced dead shortly thereafter, according to Lenihan.

Sign Up for E-News

The arriving patrol units spotted a suspect vehicle leaving the scene, and a brief pursuit ended when the vehicle collided with an SUV at the intersection of Central Avenue and West Sixth Street. A handgun was recovered from the vehicle, and Ward was taken into custody. Two occupants of the SUV and three pedestrians in the area at the time were treated for non life-threatening injuries.

A Union County Homicide Task Force investigation revealed that Ward, a confirmed member of the Elizabeth-based 111 N.H.C. (Neighborhood Crips) street gang, fired a total of eight shots targeting a local drug dealer when Valdez was killed. Just days after the shooting, Ward and about a dozen other defendants were charged with racketeering and numerous other crimes as the result of a long-term Prosecutor’s Office’s Guns, Gangs, Drugs, and Violent Crimes Task Force investigation into the gang’s activities.

That investigation resulted in a 49-count indictment returned under New Jersey’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute, targeting the defendants for their roles in incidents of identity theft, tax fraud, illegal production of fake debit and gift cards, and drug sales. The primary target of the investigation and gang leader, 27-year-old Arthur Negron of Elizabeth, ultimately pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree racketeering and continues to await sentencing.

MORE:  Two Men Charged in Plainfield Homicide

Ten of the defendants in all were sentenced or are awaiting sentencing to state prison terms, as Ward’s manslaughter plea in December 2017 marked one of the case’s last criminal charges to be adjudicated.  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Elizabeth

Union County’s Free Summer Concert Series Launches Fri, June 22

June 22, 2018

UNION COUNTY, NJ -- The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra kicks off Union County’s 57th annual Summer Arts Festival series of free outdoor concerts sponsored by the Freeholder Board with an evening of Broadway favorites, beloved opera overtures and more on Friday, June 22, at 7:30 p.m. at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.

Attendees are also invited to bring a mat or beach towel and join ...

Happenings this Week in the City of Elizabeth

ELIZABETH, NJ - Do you what is happening this week in Elizabeth? Here is a list by Mayor Bollwage’s office of events happening around the City.

Tuesday, June 19 - Completion Ceremony 

(11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 40 West Jersey Street, Elizabeth) - The completion ceremony of the NJ Youth Corps of Elizabeth at the Union County College Kellogg Building. 

Wednesday, June 20 - ...

Make Music Roselle Park Lineup Includes Rock Bands, Singer-songwriters, Free Harmonica Lesson

ROSELLE PARK, NJ - The lineup for the first-ever Make Music Roselle Park will include two rock bands, a pair of singer-songwriters, a free beginner harmonica lesson and more.

The event being held on June 21, Make Music Roselle Park is part of Make Music Day, a global music celebration that takes place on the summer solstice each year and brings people of all ages and skill ...

Linden Man Arrested After Explosion in Cranford

June 22, 2018

CRANFORD - On Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at 7:06 p.m. the Cranford Police Department received
information that an explosion was heard in the area of Raritan Road and Summit Terrace. Through
a joint investigation with the Union County Prosecutor's Office and Linden Police Department, the
Cranford Police Department Detective Bureau identified a suspect through surveillance video ...

Gov. Murphy still pushing a millionaire's tax, won’t say when he'll sign sports betting, weed bills

June 11, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - With a showdown on the state budget looming just 22 days away, Gov. Phil Murphy today re-emphasized his call for a tax on the state’s wealthiest households while hoping to avoid another shutdown of state government.

“Do I still want a millionaire’s tax? The answer is ‘yes,’ “ Murphy said at a press conference at the John ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 9, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

All New Blue Jean Ball Fights Hunger with Style

June 22, 2018

Annual Gala is Revamped, Reimagined, and Reinvigorated to Support the FoodBank’s Mission
Honoring Goya Foods, David Tepper, and CFBNJ Volunteer Corps

HILLSIDE, NJ—June 22, 2018

The Community FoodBank of New Jersey held its All New Blue Jean Ball on Saturday, June 16 at the Central Railroad Terminal in Liberty State Park. Historically a low-key affair, the annual gala was ...