Mass shooting at New Jersey house party
A house party packed with hundreds of guests devolved into chaos when gunfire erupted, killing at least two people and wounding a dozen more.
A man and a woman were shot and killed at the house party in Cumberland County, New Jersey State Police said.
At least 12 more people were shot in the melee on East Commerce Street in Fairfield Township around 11:50 p.m. Saturday.
At least six victims were being treated at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, CNN reports. An uncle of the woman who died told WABC-TV that he was “absolutely heartbroken” about his niece, whom he described as a “good girl.
Another man, John Fuqua, told WCAU-TV that his nephew narrowly escaped the shooting.
“My nephew said he was having a good time and next thing all he heard was shooting and he was running for his life,” Fuqua told the television station. “He got on the ground, he had to crawl. He stepped over a dead body.”
Helicopter footage shows debris strewn around the property of the home, including a tent that was knocked over. Vehicles of party attendees could also be seen parked along a street, some blocks away from the home.
Melissa Helmbrecht of HopeLoft Community Center told WABC-TV that party attendees had been looking forward to the gathering, which was 90s themed.
“We have a lot of challenges in this community and we’ve had a lot of tragedies. I’m just worried for our friends, our family, our employees. Over the coming days we’re going to have a lot of pieces to put back together.”
Keene, the reverend, questioned why the shooter brought a gun in the first place.
“If you’re going to a party, why do you need to take a gun?” Keene told WABC-TV. “If you’re there to have a good time, why do you need a gun with you? That means you’re expecting trouble to me.”
The scene of the shooting is in rural Cumberland County in southern New Jersey, according to WCAU-TV.
To report information about the case, call the New Jersey State Police at 856-451-0101 or send a tip to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office at www.njccpo.org/tips.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Jersey State Police Bridgeton Station at 856-451-0101 or submit a tip via the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office tip website at www.njccpo.org/tips. Anonymous tips are welcome.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy urged the public to help law enforcement with any information.
“Since late last night, the New Jersey State Police and county and local law enforcement in Cumberland County have been investigating the horrific mass shooting at a large house party in Fairfield Township that attracted hundreds of party-goers,” Murphy said in a statement Sunday.
“At this time, at least two people have lost their lives, among numerous other shooting victims, including several with injuries that are life-threatening. We hold those who have died, and their families, in our prayers today, and we also pray for the recoveries of those injured. We are grateful for the swift response of law enforcement and stand with them as they continue their investigation,” he said.
“Let there be no mistake: This despicable and cowardly act of gun violence only steels our commitment to ensuring New Jersey leads the nation in passing and enforcing strong and commonsense gun safety laws. No community should ever experience what occurred last night in Fairfield.”
Across the street from the house, the Rev. Michael Keene, of Trinity AME Church, said he initially thought fireworks were going off.
“I just started hearing at first what I thought was fireworks, it was really gunshots, and I heard nine in rapid succession,” Keene told CNN affiliate WPVI.
“If you’re going to a party, why do you need to take a gun?” he asked. “If you’re there to have a good time why do you need a gun with you? That means you’re expecting trouble to me.”