The scene of Enger Abreu's murder in front of La Famosa Bar at 117 Remsen Avenue. Credit: Carlos Ramirez / New Brunswick Today

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A teenager is dead and two others injured after a shooting outside La Famosa Bar & Liquor on Remsen Avenue during the evening of November 30.

Enger Abreu was mortally wounded and succumbed to his injuries, according to authorities. At just nineteen years old, Abreu is the youngest person murdered in New Brunswick in over a decade.

All five of New Brunswick’s homicides this year have taken place in the city’s Second Ward. The other four murder victims were between 20 and 28 years old.

Police responded at 11:10pm and initially thought there were two victims, but another was located inside a nearby residence, according to a joint statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) and the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD).

“Upon their arrival, officers located two male victims, both who sustained gunshot wounds and were transported to Robert Wood Hospital for treatment,” reads the official statement released just over twelve hours after the shooting. “A third male victim was located at a nearby residence and transported to the hospital as well for treatment.”

The names and ages of the other victims were not released by authorities, nor were any details about what led up to the shooting, or any description of a suspect or suspects.

New Brunswick Today’s Carlos Ramirez reported live from the scene of the crime, where yellow markers counted up to at least the number twelve. The markers are typically used to document locations where bullets or shell casings are found by investigators.

The bar and the corner where it is located—Remsen Avenue and Handy Street—have been one of several hotspots for violent crime in recent years.

“This intersection has a bad reputation,” said Ramirez, recalling the August 27 fight outside La Famosa, where a 50-year-old city man was reportedly assaulted by an unknown suspect, which started a large physical dispute where one person pulled out a firearm.

One week before that, on August 20, a 25-year-old was hospitalized after someone reportedly dispersed pepper spray inside the bar. Two more people were hospitalized after two more serious incidents: a September 23 robbery in front of the bar shortly after last call, and a September 28 aggravated assault on someone walking in front of the bar.

Then, on October 7, a 57-year-old city man was reportedly hospitalized after being hit with a blunt object and robbed while walking on Handy Street near Remsen Avenue.

Police did not immediately solve any of the recent incidents there, according to the NBPD’s responses to our Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests.

The November 30 shooting marked the fifth homicide of 2023 here in New Brunswick, and the second involving firearms. The city had four murders last year, one involved a firearm.

Two full days after the shooing that killed Abreu, New Brunswick appears to have done little to alert the community or seek help solving the crime, despite a promise to inform the community about shootings on the city government’s social media channels.

“Our policy is to release public information when a person is struck by gunfire. That’s the way it’s going to be,” said NBPD Lt. James Hoover at the November 1 City Council meeting, in response to our questions about inconsistencies in reporting violent incidents to the public. “I understand what you cited on the city website. I don’t control the city website.”

Both gun murders here this year remain unsolved, and the section of the city website designated for 2023 police press releases is still missing all releases pertaining to the five homicides that occurred in the city.

Authorities have asked anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area to call NBPD Detectives Jeffrey Monticello at 732-745-5200 or MCPO Detective Michelle Coppola of the at 732-745-3300.

Editor at New Brunswick Today
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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.

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.