NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—At least five people have been injured by gunfire in the streets of New Brunswick so far in September, after a mass shooting in the “off-campus” neighborhood near Rutgers University on September 13.
The chaotic scene marked at least the city’s second shooting in eleven days, and according to NJ State Police records, at least the fourteenth this year.
On September 2, a woman died of a heart attack after a shooting that injured two men on her block of Lee Avenue near Seaman Street.
Police still haven’t solved that case, the topic of a four-paragraph press release that did not mention the woman or her death.
Because Lee Avenue sits four blocks outside of the Fifth Ward, Rutgers University did not issue an alert to its “campus community,” even though none of the perpetrators were arrested.
Authorities have not said yet if they will treat the case as a murder, but the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) has responded to our questions by confirming that the woman passed away. She left in an ambulance about a half-hour after the two men were shot in front of her home.
“There is an active investigation regarding the circumstances of the shooting… therefore there is no additional information at this time,” said MCPO spokesperson Andrea Boulton.
It’s unclear how many casualties there were in this most recent shooting incident, which took place at about 1:30am in the area of 32 Delafield Street, not far from Rutgers University’s main campus.
Carlos Ramirez was the first reporter on scene, witnessing three men taken away in ambulance vehicles, some of which came from out of town.
Police officers also came from North Brunswick, Franklin Township, and Rutgers University, another sign of the severity and significance of the incident. North Brunswick officers were seen carrying canisters of pepper spray at one point.
Though MCPO and the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) are leading the investigation, Rutgers PD was the only department to issue an alert about the crime so far.
In an initial alert posted on social media more than an hour after the violence, Rutgers told people to “stay away” because of “shots fired.”
“In this incident, it is reported that an unknown perpetrator(s) fired several shots from a weapon striking individuals who were present,” reads the RUPD’s subsequent statement.
“Those injured were transported to an area hospital and injuries are reported to be serious.”
The RUPD posts did not say the total number of victims or perpetrators.
Police officers were observed guarding the entrance to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital around 4am, as altercations broke out among the large crowd gathered outside on Little Albany Street.
Others left the crowded areas to cry, troubled and traumatized by the events of the night.
At least a dozen police officers also remained on scene at Delafield Street, including embattled NBPD Detective Joshua Alexander, who was recently caught lying under oath in a marijuana case.
Police were observed placing markers in the street, typically used to mark evidence of gunfire, with numbers as high as “49.” Alexander held a bright light up and took photographs, and did not respond to our questions.
New Brunswick police have been secretive about their work on the shooting cases, failing to publish press releases for all but one of the shootings this year.
Less than 12 hours before the mass shooting incident near Rutgers, this reporter was asking New Brunswick PD’s public information officer how many of the city’s thirteen shootings had been solved.
The MCPO has only announced arrests in one of the shootings, a May 17 incident in Tov Manor.
Public information officer JT Miller has not responded to the question of how many of the cases NBPD has solved, nor has he responded to a request for information on the mass shooting.
Miller has previously refused to provide even a total number of shootings year-to-date when asked by this reporter repeatedly over years.
“I am not your personal assistant and I do not work for your internet blog,” was Miller’s most recent response to the question.
The MCPO was also unable or unwilling to provide a figure for total shootings in New Brunswick, referring us to NBPD for that information.
It ultimately took a request made under the Open Public Records Act to the NJ State Police to determine that there were thirteen shootings in New Brunswick, as of September 3.
It’s possible that not all of New Brunswick’s shootings were reported to the state, and therefore may not be included in that figure.
As we reported previously, an August 4 shooting on Lee Avenue was not reported to the state until after New Brunswick Today brought it to the attention of the State Police Colonel.