NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City police responded to reports of a shooting outside of a bar at the corner of High Street and Hamilton Street, shortly after 2am this morning.
“We got [shell] casings in the roadway here,” said an NBPD officer who arrived quickly on scene.
Because the incident occurred along the border between the Fifth and Sixth Wards of the city, just blocks away from the Rutgers campus in a student-dominated neighborhood, Rutgers Police issued a “crime alert,” the sixteenth such alert of the semester.
“In this incident, witnesses reported observing a physical altercation in the street and that one of the participants fired a weapon into the air,” reads the alert.
“Upon the arrival of the New Brunswick Police Department, all of the participants had fled the area and there were no reported injuries.”
According to the alert, the shooter “was described as a male wearing a white t-shirt who was reported to have fled from the area on Hamilton Street towards Louis Street in a white vehicle, possibly a Honda Accord.”
Police on the scene described the suspect vehicle as “a 4-door white Honda Accord with tinted windows. The occupants in the vehicle are three younger Dominican males,” according to police radio transmissions.
Although no one was hurt, the shooting still shook the neighborhood and residents in other parts of the city.
“Disgusting. Right down my block. It was a whole round of shots and shouting,” wrote one city resident on the New Brunswick Today Facebook page, the first place the shooting was reported.
“This might be a good time to try and work WITH law enforcement,” said another New Brunswicker.
Another replied, “This might be a good time to promote community-based approaches to law enforcement.”
The shooting is one of many crimes that occurred outside the bar at that corner, which has gone by several different names over the past decade including “JJ Bar & Grill,” “Bar & Grill,” “The Office,” and “732lounge.”
The sidewalk in front of the bar, located at 186 Hamilton Street, was the scene of a gruesome crime in 2008, that left one man stabbed in the head and led to a change in management of the establishment.
As we reported earlier this year, there were two violent assaults in the same general area during a four-night span this September, but only one resulted in a university crime alert, raising questions about the college’s new system for public notifications.
The bar in question was not identified as one of the eight bars and nightclubs in the city that the NBPD “may require additional review,” according in the city’s 2014 Tavern Report.
The New Brunswick Police Department is investigating this morning’s shooting and asks that anyone with information, or who may have been in the area at the time, contact the department’s Detective Bureau at (732) 745-5216.
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, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.