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UPDATE (3/23): Police identified the shooting victim as 27-year-old New Brunswick resident Shabazz Muhammed, and indicated he is in critical but stable condition at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
Police are looking into the possibility that a shooting that injured two people sixteen hours later might be related.
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Police responded to a report of shots fired, possibly from an automatic weapon, near Recreation Park, known locally as “Pine Street Park,” at about 10:16pm on Saturday, March 21.
According to police radio transmissions, two crime scenes were established in the Second Ward after police found a victim inside a vehicle they pulled over after brief seven-block car chase.
The vehicle had four passengers, including the victim, and was described as a grey Toyota Camry registered to someone from East Brunswick.
The chase began at the intersection of Commercial Avenue and Georges Road, and continued until the vehicle pulled over seven blocks down Commercial Avenue, near Suydam Street.
“Brunswick, get an ambulance over here. We got a victim shot. That’s what this vehicle is,” said an officer on scene.
Inside the vehicle, police found a man who had been shot in the abdomen, according to the transmissions. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital from Suydam and Commercial.
While police there called for an ambulance, they were also asking for back-up in the Pine Street area at the other crime scene near the intersection with Mason Avenue, where the shooting apparently occurred.
Police dispatchers said a single caller had reported the sound of gunshots from “possibly an automatic weapon.”
And, within the hour, city police were headed to the Robeson Village neighborhood in the Fourth Ward, near the border with Franklin Township, for another shots fired call. Police did not immediately locate a victim in that case.
That shots fired call came on the heels of a “large disturbance” near the clubhouse of The Hampton Club, a nearby gated community.
According to dispatchers, the caller described the disturbance as involving 10-20 people with at least one assault victim. That call came in shortly after 10:30pm.
Officers at that scene heard the potential gunshots in the vicinity of Robeson Village at 10:46pm.
“It sounded like two shots,” said an officer as he pulled into the public housing development. People there told him the shots sounded like they came from the Franklin Township side of Route 27.
Franklin Police Sgt. Philip Rizzo said the department got an anonymous report of a shooting near Oak Place.
“Numerous officers responded to the area. After checking the area it was determined that the incident was unfounded.”
UPDATE (3/22): Police in North Brunswick have located a “round” fired into a house on First Avenue, roughly ten blocks away from the existing crime scene. The two neighborhoods are located on opposite sides of the Bristol-Myers-Squibb complex.
Franklin Township police confirmed they investigated a subsequent shots fired call near Oak Place at 10:47pm, but officers deemed the call unfounded.
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.