NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The county prosecutor’s office announced that three people died overnight in New Brunswick, two in a double homicide and another by suicide.
Both of the fatal incidents occurred in or near city parks within the Second Ward of New Brunswick, and authorities say the killings are connected and the three deceased individuals knew each other.
The first fatal incident occurred at Feaster Park, a city park that recently re-opened after a lengthy renovation project.
Authorities say that a few hours later into the night, the person who police believe committed the double homicide then killed himself in another city park known as Recreation Park, or “Pine Street Park.”
Authorities did not explain what led them to their conclusions, only that the official investigation “determined that” a 26-year-old city man was responsible for all three deaths, including his own.
It’s unclear precisely when the first crime occurred, but it was approximately 11:03pm on October 21, when authorities say they responded to a reported stabbing in the area of Handy Street and Throop Avenue.
According to our sources, one resident called police after finding a dead man, bleeding out on a Handy Street sidewalk, near one of the entrances to newly-renovated Feaster Park.
New Brunswick Today’s Carlos Ramirez reported live from the scene at Feaster shortly before 1 am. At that time, the intersection of Throop Avenue and Handy Street, and several parts of the park were taped off.
Throughout the seventeen-minute report, police asked Ramirez and this reporter to move further and further away from the scene.
Authorities say they ultimately discovered two victims with multiple stab wounds, one man and one woman.
The man, Jesus Antonio-Salazar, a 25-year-old city resident, was pronounced dead at the scene, while a 22-year-old New Brunswick woman named Gabriela De La Cruz Camero succumbed to her injuries after leaving in an ambulance bound for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
As we’ve reported, Throop Avenue and Feaster Park itself have been some of the most dangerous areas in the city when it comes to fatal crimes. Many observers hoped to see that change after the park closed for renovations in 2022, and re-opened formally in September.
According to the official story, a third person who knew them both was later “found unconscious at 7 Pine Street,” the address for Recreation Park, a city-owned facility closer to Rutgers University’s campus and the border with North Brunswick Township.
Local police were notified of the second incident during a phone call received at approximately 2:13am. Upon arrival at Recreation Park, officers located Eduardo Mateo Lorenzo, a 26-year-old New Brunswick man who was “deceased by an apparent suicide.”
The official statement credited Detective Brandt Gregus of the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) and Detective Jose Rosario of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) with determining that “Mateo Lorenzo was the alleged perpetrator of the acts causing the deaths of Camero and Antonio-Salazar.”
The MCPO released their statement about the incidents at approximately 12:41pm on October 22.
The statement did not indicate how authorities believe that Lorenzo killed himself, and MCPO’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to our questions.
Like many pronouncements from prosecutors, the official October 20 statement stressed their belief that there is “no threat to the community.”
“The three knew each other and there is no threat to the community,” the MCPO concluded.
The statement says it comes jointly from MCPO’s leader Yolanda Ciccone and New Brunswick Police Department’s Director Anthony Caputo, but neither agency has posted information about it on the press release sections of either of their websites.
The latest killings are considered the second and third murders of the year in New Brunswick. Authorities have not announced any arrests or charges related to the fatal June 4 shooting that claimed a young man’s life, just two blocks away from Feaster.
A few months after the fatal shooting of an innocent driver just outside of Feaster Park in 2021, the administration of Mayor James Cahill made a pledge to post information on social media whenever a shooting went down in a public place here in the Hub City.
“City officials will notify the public of shootings in public places such as streets and parks through its social media platforms,” reported TapInto New Brunswick, based on a statement provided by Cahill. “The intent is to let the public have the benefit of the information.”
The article was later posted to the city website, but the city hasn’t always followed through.
However, no such promise was offered by city officials with regard to transparency about stabbings or other violent crimes, and the city government and NBPD have yet to utilize their platforms to share the tragic news out of Feaster and Recreation Parks.
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.