FRANKLIN, NJ—Authorities have connected two crimes that occurred in quick succession, charging the 19-year-old victim of a stabbing with fatally shooting 17-year-old Joell Burton in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, on Route 27.
Dequan S. Rogers, age 19, of Alcorne Street in Franklin Township, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, as well as possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a handgun, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.
As we reported yesterday, Burton was a resident of the New Brunswick neighborhood known locally as "the Ville." He resided on Bergen Court in the Schwarz-Robeson public housing complex, according to authorities.
Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano stated that Monday night, Burton and Rogers crossed paths between Fuller Street and Route 27 in the Somerset section of Franklin.
"A physical altercation ensued between both individuals during which time defendant Rogers received a stab wound to his upper torso and a non-life threatening laceration to his arm," reads the SCPO press release.
The SCPO says its investigation revealed that Rogers was armed with a small caliber semi-automatic handgun, and fired one round striking Mr. Burton in the chest.
"Defendant Rogers fled from the area and proceeded towards the area of Victor Street," said the release.
Local police received two 9-1-1 calls five minutes apart, the first regarding the shooting of Burton, and the second regarding the stabbing of Rogers.
While officers and emergency medical personnel were unable to save the life of Burton, other officers and emergency medical personnel treated Rogers at the scene and transported him to a local hospital where he underwent "emergency procedures to address his injuries," according to the SCPO.
Rogers is listed in stable condition. Bail was set by the Judge Yolanda Ciccone at $500,000, cash only.
"A motive for the crime has not been released as detectives continue the investigation. Detectives have stated that the event was an isolated situation between two parties that knew each other and the incident was not a random act.
Franklin Township and New Brunswick Police Departments also assisted in the investigation.
Anyone with information regarding the homicide is asked to contact the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-2300, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, or the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.