SOMERSET, NJ - A 19-year-old local man is dead, a 70-year old man was wounded and four suspects are in custody following three separate shootings over a four-day period this week, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.
A fifth suspect is still at large.
The investigation is ongoing to determine whether the three shootings are related, Robertson said.
Samaad Frazier was found by police responding to a 9-1-1 call suffering from gunshot wounds in a vehicle near a residence on Churchill Avenue on Tuesday, according to police. Responding officers rendred first aid to Frazier before he was transported to an area trauma center where he died, according to Robertson.
Robertson provided the following details:
Police also found an unidentified 70-year-old man on King Road, suffering from a gunshot wound to his leg, following a Tuesday 9-1-1 call.
Police responded to the first shooting on Monday at approximately 4:40 am after a 9-1-1 call reported multiple shots fired into a residence on Barker Road. Responding officers found spent shell casings outside on the street along with damage to the residence.
"At the time of the shooting, a resident was inside the house but was not injured by the gunfire," Robertson said. Detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department along with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, and the Crime Scene Investigations Unit responded to conduct the investigation.
Police responded to the second shooting on Tuesday following two 9-1-1 calls at approximately 2:27 am and 2:29 a.m.reporting multiple shots fired on King Road. The second call reported a 70-year-old male resident being shot. The unidentified man was transported to the hospital and later released.
The fatal shooting of Frazier took place on Churchill Avenue on Tuesday at approximately 3:26 a.m. A post-mortem examination is scheduled to be performed by the New Jersey Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause and manner of death.
Officers responding to the Churchill Avenue shooting observed a vehicle fleeing at a high rate of speed on Hamilton Street and Berry Street A police pursuit followed, with the vehicle crashing at the intersection of Easton Avenue and Oakland Avenue.
"The five occupants inside the suspect vehicle fled on foot in different directions with Franklin Officers initiating foot pursuit of the suspects," Robertson said. "One of the occupants was captured fleeing the vehicle by a Franklin Township detective and Franklin Patrol Officers."
Gavin M. Owens-Jones, 18, of Barker Road, was the suspect captured and police say he was armed with a semi-automatic handgun. Police ordered Owens-Jones to drop his weapon, which he did, and he was taken into custody.
"Two additional suspects were taken into custody by police as they attempted to flee the scene on foot," Robertson said. "They were identified as Jeffrey J. Grant Jr., age 19, Culver Street, and a sixteen-year-old Somerset male juvenile identified as I.S."
Police arrested a 16-year-old fourth suspect identified as T.H., on Wednesday without incident, according to Robertson.
Owens-Jones was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and fourth-degree eluding by flight. Jeffrey Grant was charged with first-degree murder, and fourth-degree eluding by flight. Defendants Owens-Jones and Grant were lodged at the Somerset County Jail pending a bail detention hearing. Juvenile I.S. was charged with fourth-degree eluding and released to a family member pending a family court appearance. Juvenile T.H. was charged with first-degree murder and lodged at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center pending a family court appearance.
Robertson requests anyone with information relating to these shootings or the homicide to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533 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.--