NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – A member of the City Council said that although this week’s shooting that left two dead and seven injured has made national headlines, this isn’t a “wild west city where there’s shootings going on all the time.”
“That’s not who we are,” said Glen Fleming, a council member since 2012. “We just made national news. People were calling me from all over the country, saying, ‘OK, what’s going on in your city?’ I’m telling you, that’s not who we are.”
Dozens of people attending a party were sent scattering Sunday morning when shots rang out at about 1:19 a.m.
A chilling video provided to TAPinto New Brunswick showed four hooded figures emerging from a car with guns drawn. They proceeded to open fire on partygoers on Delafield Street. Some ran from the car toward the house.
The following day, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that two men had died from gunshot wounds.
The shooting left the street filled with bullet casings and pools of blood, and it left a city to wonder who had killed Anthony Robinson 23, of New Brunswick, and Lionel Macauley, 28, of Franklin.
Fleming went on to address the recent backlash against police in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Jacob Blake and others while discussing the recent shooting deaths.
There have been calls to defund police departments and protests against police misconduct in New Brunswick and other places since Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer used his knee to pin Floyd to the ground for nearly nine minutes in May.
“And sometimes police don’t get enough recognition because they say, ‘Oh, how can this happen?’” Fleming said. “Sometimes as cops you don’t know when there’s going to be a random shooting. You don’t know when things like that are going to be happening. Before, there was a time when people say, ‘OK, they control the neighborhood too much. OK, they’re overpolicing right now.’ We gotta strike a balance where we respect each other as people and that’s the only way we’re going to have a safe city.”
The shooting became a subject of discussion during Wednesday’s City Council meeting, when Council Vice President Suzanne Sicora Ludwig urged residents to work with the police to help bring justice for the victims’ families.
“The safety of our citizens is a top priority and after speaking with (Police) Director (Anthony) Caputo earlier this afternoon, I’m confident that the New Brunswick Police Department is acting with the utmost diligence, professionalism and expediency to assist the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office with their investigation,” she said.
A GoFundMe page that was started to raise money to help Robinson’s family with funeral costs had raised almost $9,000. The page said he was a “loving son, brother and most of all a wonderful father to his 2-year-old daughter. He would do anything for his family and his friends.”
Here is the entirety of Fleming’s statements at Wednesday’s Council meeting:
“(I want to) offer my condolences to the families that were affected by it, but also just make a point of whenever things like this happen, we should be just as outraged. If this was a police-involved shooting, by now there would be rallies, there would be different things going on. And right now, you have young men who are shooting each other. I was personally touched by it because I had one of my nephews who has been involved in certain things. He’s been shot at and probably came within five feet of his life most recently. He has been involved in the system and stuff like that. But I’m just saying that whenever something like this happens, in the city people say, ‘Oh my God, how does this happen in the city?’ We gotta know that there’s balance, there has to be a balance going on. That’s not who we are. We just made national news. People were calling me from all over the country, saying, ‘OK, what’s going on in your city?’ I’m telling you, that’s not who we are. We should respect the process, make sure there’s a thorough investigation make sure that people, if you see something, say something, plain and simple because when we are silent about things like this, it’s bound to happen again. And sometimes police don’t get enough recognition because they say, ‘Oh, how can this happen?’ Sometimes as cops you don’t know when there’s going to be a random shooting. You don’t know when things like that are going to be happening. Before, there was a time when people say they, ‘OK, the control the neighborhood too much. OK, they’re overpolicing right now.’ We gotta strike a balance where we respect each other as people and that’s the only way we’re going to have a safe city. Like I said, once again, if you see something, say something. That’s not who we are in New Brunswick. We’re not a wild west city where there’s shooting going on all the time. But, when things like this happen, we have to respect the process and hope that we all can work together to make a safer city.”