NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—After pressing for answers for over three weeks, New Brunswick Today has finally learned the details of a previously undisclosed stabbing that occurred near the city’s 24-hour Walgreens on Jersey Avenue.
On November 23, New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) Captain JT Miller confirmed for the first time that there was a stabbing during the early morning hours of Saturday, October 31.
According to Miller, a 17-year-old was stabbed in the arm at about 2:35 am on October 31.
That means that a single night saw a total of four stabbing victims injured in the Hub City, including 18-year-old Daniel Leandry, the suspect injured in a knifefight at Mettler Hall on College Avenue.
As we reported in both 2014 and 2015, when Halloween falls on the weekend, chaos and crime often crop up in New Brunswick.
Despite repeated inquiries from New Brunswick Today, it was not until 23 days later that Captain Miller finally answered the burning question: How many people were stabbed in New Brunswick?
“In addition to the Rutgers incident there was one additional stabbing on October 31st at approximately 2:35 am in the area of Walgreens (Jersey Ave. and Handy St.),” Miller wrote in an email.
“A 17 year old individual received a non-life threatening stab wound to the arm as the result of an altercation with another unknown individual. The NBPD is still investigating.”
While the on-campus incident resulted in multiple emergency alerts being immediately sent to the Rutgers community, even as police were searching for the suspect, the situation played out differently a mile away.
After the Walgreens incident, police did not learn of the stabbing until the victim was being worked on in a hospital emergency room.
As we reported, police were alerted that someone had walked in to St. Peter’s University Hospital emergency room entrance with a stab wound at around 3:00am.
“St. Peter’s called. They got a walk-in stab victim, in the ER. Said he doesn’t know where he got stabbed,” said a dispatcher over the police radio.
At first, police suspected the wounds were self-inflicted, but later determined that was not the case.
The case never resulted in any public notifications: no “crime alert” because it did not involve college students or take place near the Rutgers campus, and no NBPD announcements or press release, perhaps because the department’s public information officer was on vacation.
Even though the stabbing remains unsolved today, police have not made any arrests or requested the public’s help in solving the crime.
The NBPD has had an official “Nixle account” that offers free emails and text message alerts, similar to the one used by Rutgers Univerity Police Department (RUPD).
However, the NBPD has never used the system to notify the public about crimes.
On October 31, this reporter first sent four questions to NBPD Miller, including “How many people in total were stabbed in New Brunswick overnight Friday into Saturday?”
Miller was on vacation from November 2 to November 9, according to an auto-response, and his replacement would not answer the question.
Finally, on November 10, Miller responded by confirming two of the other incidents NBToday has asked about, but declining to answer the stabbing question.
“I think we have spoken about this before, I am not your personal researcher,” Miller’s email began.
“If you have questions regarding a specific incident or arrest I will do everything I can to provide the relevant information, but I do not have the time to speculate what you are looking for when you ask random questions about something you may have heard somewhere.”
On November 20, the author of this article wrote back and asked one final time how many people were stabbed, taking issue with how the NBPD handled the matter.
“I find it troubling that there might have so many stabbings in New Brunswick on a single night, such that you or someone in the Police Department cannot be troubled to provide information on all of them,” wrote this reporter.
“I guess we will just have to agree to disagree,” Miller responded, before revealing the details of the stabbing.
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.