BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Two men have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of West Orange resident Roobino Philemon late Saturday night after police say the victim tried to gain access to a birthday party at a residence on Bayberry Road, but was told to leave, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.
Hafeez A. Brown, 33 of Exeter Road, Linden was arrested and charged with first degree Murder, second degree Possession of a Firearm, and second degree Unlawful Possession of Firearm. George A. Bease, 32, of Bayberry Road, Bridgewater was arrested and charged with second degree Possession of a Firearm while in the course of committing a CDS offense. Both suspects are lodged at the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing, according to Robertson, who provided the following account of the shooting and its aftermath:
Bridgewater Police responded to a 911 emergency call at 11:53 reporting an individual with a gunshot wound was driving on North Bridge Street towards Route 22. Somerville Police also responded and encountered the vehicle on Route 22 Eastbound.
The victim had originally been driving, but another occupant of the car took the wheel when Philemon told him he had been shot. Police initiated lifesaving measures whole an ambulance was en route, but the victim died once he reached the hospital.
Police were told where the shooting had taken place, and went to a residence on Bayberry Road and Foothill Road and spoke with several people leaving the residence.
A mutual aid call for additional help was issued, with officers from several surrounding towns responding along with New Jersey State Police Troopers from the Somerville Barracks to form a tactical perimeter.
A brief shelter in place was initiated for local residents.
The Somerset County SWAT team arrived with the County Crisis Negotiators who subsequently made contact with five people, three men and two women, who were still inside the house. Two of the men are the suspects who were arrested. They complied with law enforcement and exited the residence without incident.
Bridgewater Police Department detectives along with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Crime Scene Investigations Unit responded to conduct the homicide investigation.
Following the execution of a Superior Court Ordered Search Warrant, investigators located a substantial quantity of marijuana along with two firearms and ammunition.
The investigation revealed that Philemon along with another individual attempted to access a birthday party which was being held at the residence on Bayberry Road, but were asked to leave by the homeowner as they were not welcome. Philemon and the other individual left in their vehicle and stopped on Foothill Road near the intersection of Bayberry Road; the homeowner walked up to the vehicle and told Philemon to leave.
Brown also walked up towards the rear of the vehicle and fired a weapon several times in the direction of the vehicle, striking Philemon once. He drove down Foothill Road and told his front seat passenger that he had been shot.
The vehicle briefly stopped on Foothill Road as the front seat passenger took control of the vehicle, placed Philemon in the back seat and proceeded to drive while calling 911. He saw a police car on Route 22 East near Grove Street and stopped. That's when police from Somerville and Bridgewater initiated life saving measures.
The New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. The investigation is ongoing as investigators continue to gather evidence.
Robertson requests anyone with information relating to this incident to contact the Bridgewater Police Department at (908) 722-4111, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit (908) 231-7100, or via the STOPit app.
The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ.
Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.