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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    This year's event was marred with a shooting that left 22 people injured, including 17 from gunfire.

    This year marked the 12th annual Art All Night, a 24-hour event meant to showcase creativity in New Jersey's capital city. But after gunfire erupted there shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday, leaving 22 people injured -- including 17 people who were shot and one fatality -- a once joyous event in Trenton will now always be tied to this outburst of violence.

    Last year, over 1,500 artists participated and 30,000 patrons visited the event, which offers free submissions to artists, as well as free admission to attendees, according to its website.

    This year, it was scheduled to run from 3 p.m. Saturday to 3 p.m. Sunday at the historic Roebling Wire Works building on South Clinton Avenue. The building was part of the former site of a steel cable factory operated by the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Though it long remained vacant after the factory shuttered, much of the complex has been revitalized over the past few years.  

    The 50,000 square foot venue is adjacent Millyard Park. The annual event, which includes live music, interactive art, displays, lectures, and a film festival, takes place indoors and outdoors. 

    Organizers did not respond to requests for comment Sunday, but have previously said the event is a catalyst for community development.

    ArtWorks, Trenton's non-profit downtown visual arts center, puts on the event every year.

    In 2016, organizers told NJ Advance Media bringing the event to Trenton in 2007 was the brainchild of Michael Gumpert, then executive director of ArtWorks, who had volunteered with the original Art All Night in Pittsburgh.

    "I looked at him and laughed, 'You're crazy, that's never going to work here,'" Joseph Kuzemka, the event's creative director, told NJ Advance Media in 2016. "He had this vision and I bought into it at some point."

    The event, its website explains, take submissions from a wide range of artists, from young kids drawing "refrigerator" art, to seasoned professionals. Locals who attend the event every year said Sunday it has never before been host to violence.

    The shooting, which officials said broke out between multiple gunmen -- including one who was killed by police and one who is in custody -- changed that. While off-duty Trenton officers were working security at the event, there were no metal detectors inside the venue, officials said.

    The future of Art All Night seems unclear. While Trenton's mayor-elect, state Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15th Dist.) said he "hopes" the event continues, "...we are going to have to reevaluate security measures in the future."

    In a talk at the Galilee Baptist Church in Trenton Sunday afternoon, Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, seemed more sure of its continuation.

    "As it related to Art All Night -- (the shooting) tells me we need it now more than ever before. Events that will bring the community together," he said.

    Staff writer Karen Yi contributed to this report.

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

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    This year's event was marred with a shooting that left 22 people injured, including 17 from gunfire.

    This year marked the 12th annual Art All Night, a 24-hour event meant to showcase creativity in New Jersey's capital city. But after gunfire erupted there shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday, leaving 22 people injured -- including 17 people who were shot and one fatality -- a once joyous event in Trenton will now always be tied to this outburst of violence.

    Last year, over 1,500 artists participated and 30,000 patrons visited the event, which offers free submissions to artists, as well as free admission to attendees, according to its website.

    This year, it was scheduled to run from 3 p.m. Saturday to 3 p.m. Sunday at the historic Roebling Wire Works building on South Clinton Avenue. The building was part of the former site of a steel cable factory operated by the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Though it long remained vacant after the factory shuttered, much of the complex has been revitalized over the past few years.  

    The 50,000 square foot venue is adjacent Millyard Park. The annual event, which includes live music, interactive art, displays, lectures, and a film festival, takes place indoors and outdoors. 

    Organizers did not respond to requests for comment Sunday, but have previously said the event is a catalyst for community development.

    ArtWorks, Trenton's non-profit downtown visual arts center, puts on the event every year.

    In 2016, organizers told NJ Advance Media bringing the event to Trenton in 2007 was the brainchild of Michael Gumpert, then executive director of ArtWorks, who had volunteered with the original Art All Night in Pittsburgh.

    "I looked at him and laughed, 'You're crazy, that's never going to work here,'" Joseph Kuzemka, the event's creative director, told NJ Advance Media in 2016. "He had this vision and I bought into it at some point."

    The event, its website explains, take submissions from a wide range of artists, from young kids drawing "refrigerator" art, to seasoned professionals. Locals who attend the event every year said Sunday it has never before been host to violence.

    The shooting, which officials said broke out between multiple gunmen -- including one who was killed by police and one who is in custody -- changed that. While off-duty Trenton officers were working security at the event, there were no metal detectors inside the venue, officials said.

    The future of Art All Night seems unclear. While Trenton's mayor-elect, state Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15th Dist.) said he "hopes" the event continues, "...we are going to have to reevaluate security measures in the future."

    In a talk at the Galilee Baptist Church in Trenton Sunday afternoon, Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, seemed more sure of its continuation.

    "As it related to Art All Night -- (the shooting) tells me we need it now more than ever before. Events that will bring the community together," he said.

    Staff writer Karen Yi contributed to this report.

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

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    "We can't make our neighborhoods safe as long as guns can come in across a bridge or state line," one lawmaker said. Watch video

    WASHINGTON -- The Trenton shooting, where one person was killed and 22 injured, sparked a new debate over gun safety as New Jersey passed new regulations while congressional Republicans acted to roll back national rules.

    "Despite all of our state's efforts, New Jersey is not an island -- we can't make our neighborhoods safe as long as guns can come in across a bridge or state line, from Pennsylvania or North Carolina," said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12th Dist., whose district includes Trenton. "This is a problem we can only solve at the national level, with Congress leading the way."

    And Bishop David O'Connell, bishop of Trenton, decried the "ongoing, seemingly relentless acts of gun violence plaguing our cities."

    "How many times can our hearts break?" he said.

    Murphy speaks at Trenton service

    Gov. Phil Murphy last week signed legislation banning most magazines of more than 10 rounds of ammunition and armor-piercing "cop-killer" bullets, making it harder to receive handgun permits, requiring background checks for all private sales, and keeping guns from those deemed a threat to themselves.

    But given Sunday's shooting, National Rifle Association Regional Vice President Bob Verhasselt questioned how effective those measures were.

    "I thought Governor Murphy got elected to 'end the scourge of gun violence,'" Verhasselt said. "Looks like he and his progressive Democratic minions had better concentrate their efforts in the urban areas if they want to be more effective."

    Murphy on Sunday acknowledged that "we're a long way from getting rid of this senselessness," and even when signing the bills called on Congress to act.

    Congressional Republicans have sought to weaken gun restrictions, not strengthen them.

    House Republicans voted to overturn state restrictions against concealed weapons, and to prevent the federal government from stopping mentally ill veterans from buying guns unless a judge ruled that they were dangers to themselves or others.

    GOP lawmakers also voted to overturn the requirement that the Social Security Administration report the names of those with mental illnesses who need representatives to handle their disability and supplemental benefit checks. President Donald Trump signed that bill into law.

    And while Trump accused lawmakers of of being "petrified" of the NRA, he has pushed for more guns in schools by arming teachers. He also has characterized new gun laws as a threat to the right to bear arms, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that certain regulations are constitutional.

    The NRA spent $55 million in the 2016 elections on behalf of Trump and congressional Republicans, more than any other interest group, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research organization.

    Rep. Chris Smith, R-4th Dist., who voted against the concealed carry measure, called on his fellow congressional Republicans to act in response to the Trenton shooting. 

    "This is another tragedy that compels policy makers at all levels including Congress to do more to end the escalating violence, including universal background checks to keep guns away from dangerous people," Smith said.

    And Watson Coleman, who in 2016 helped lead a Democratic sit-in on the House floor in an unsuccessful effort to force votes on gun measures, urged her colleagues to act.

    "As it comes home to my own district, I'm heartbroken knowing we could make it harder to access these weapons," Watson Coleman said.

    "Dozens of the congressmen and women I work with every day have gotten the call I got this morning alerting them to a shooting in their district. For anyone that hasn't, I'm asking to work with you now, before it happens to you. There are bills ready for consideration right now. We just need to be brave enough to call for votes."

    Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JDSalant or on Facebook. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.

     

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    Day four of the 2018 World Cup threw up two shock results, which might have turned the whole tide of the tournament.

    Day four of the 2018 World Cup threw up two shock results, which might have turned the whole tide of the tournament.

    It also caused a seismic event in Mexico City, when Hiving Lozano's first half strike gave Mexico the biggest victory so far. 

    RESULTS 

    Costa Rica 0-1 Serbia

    Germany 0-1 Mexico

    Brazil 1-1 Switzerland

    SUNDAY'S THREE STARS

    Hiving Lozano, Mexico

    Any of the Mexican attackers (bar Chicharito) could probably have been the pick here, but it goes to the goal scorer who had Mexico City jumping up and down enough to register on the richter scale.

    Lozano posted an 8.4 rating on Whoscored.com, one of three Mexican players to rate at eight or higher (Ochoa, 8.5, and Herrera, 8.2).

    Steven Zuber, Switzerland

    Not only did the midfielder score the tying goal, he helped shut down the prolific Brazil attack, which came into the match on fire. Rated out at a 7.2 on Whoscored.com

    Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Serbia

    The Whoscored.com Man of the Match with a 7.7 rating, the big attacking midfielder led Serbia to the top of the Group E. Milinkovic-Savic bossed the game, and now has a chance to win the group Wednesday with a win over Brazil.

    World Cup 2018 Day 3: VAR helps France, Messi tries to match Ronaldo

    SWITZERLAND HACKS NEYMAR, MEXICO COUNTERS GERMANY

    Two distinct styles of play occurred in the final two matches Sunday, and both were very effective.

    Every time Neymar touched the ball for Brazil, the Swiss tried to foul him. Neymar was fouled 10 times, and kicked all over the pitch. It worked, as Switzerland limited the forward's chances near goal. Brazil failed to win its World Cup opener for the first time since 1982, but could still win the group with two wins.

    But the result of the tournament has to go to Mexico, which made the world champions look awful. If the Mexican forwards were more clinical, this match could easily have been 3-0. It may set up a Germany Brazil round of 16 match, which would be immense.

    MONDAY SCHEDULE

    The first match of the day will see Sweden take on South Korea in Group F at 8 a.m. EDT on FS1 and Fubo.tv.

    The final two games will see Group G action kick off, with Belgium taking on Panama at 11 a.m. EDT on FS1, and England meeting Tunisia at 2 p.m. EDT on Fox. Both matches are also on Fubo.tv.

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR MONDAY

    In the first match, one of the teams has a chance to lay down a huge marker, if either can come away with a victory. It would leave Germany three points down to two teams.

    In Group G, the high-flying Belgian attack takes to the pitch against Panama, which on paper looks to be one of the more lopsided games of the first round. But as was shown this weekend, the matches are played on the pitches.

    Finally, the English fans have been adamant on social media that "Football is coming home." Can Jesse Lingard (or most likely Harry Kane) lead England past a highly-ranked Tunisia team, and ramp up the hype to higher levels?

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean His weekly podcast, Box to Box Football, can be found on iTunes here https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/box-to-box-football/id1208561351?mt=2


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    Authorities have identified the 33-year-old man shot and killed by police during an outbreak of gunplay in Trenton at the Art All Night festival early Sunday morning.

    Authorities have identified the 33-year-old man shot and killed by police during an outbreak of gunplay in Trenton at the Art All Night festival early Sunday morning.

    Tahaji Wells was shot and killed by police after allegedly exchanging fire with at least two other suspects in a burst of violence that injured 22 people, 17 of whom were shot, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said during a press conference Sunday evening.

    The shooting appears to be a gang-related dispute, Onofri said. 

    Wells2.jpgWells. (Mercer County Prosecutor's Office)
     

    Prior to the shooting, fights broke out inside and outside Roebling Wire Works, where the annual event was held. Police attempted to disperse the crowd and urged the organizers to shut down the festival, Onofri said. 

    "Those individuals continued to loiter and additional fights broke out, and then the shooting occurred," Onofri said, noting the suspects first shot at each other before police opened fire. 

    Authorities said Wells was carrying a handgun with an extended magazine -- a gun that's illegal to possess in New Jersey. It was one of several guns recovered at the scene. Authorities also commented on his violent past. 

    Wells was sentenced in 2004 to 18 years in state prison after pleading guilty to aggravated manslaughter in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Robert McNair during a dispute over who should drive a car Wells had driven from a local bar. Wells was 17 at the time of his killing, authorities said.

    At the time of the 2002 killing, after Wells had been announced as a suspect, his mother told the Times of Trenton "he (was never involved) in things like this."

    Records show that in 2010, Wells -- still serving time for the 2002 killing -- was sentenced to six more years after pleading guilty to a second-degree racketeering charge following a prosecution by the state Attorney General's Office.

    In that case, state prosecutors said Wells had helped David "Duke" Allen, the imprisoned leader of the Bloods' Nine Trey Gangsters faction, run his gang from behind bars. The Attorney General's Office has described Wells as an alleged Bloods gang member.

    He was released from prison in February, records show.

    Onofri also said two other suspects, Amir Armstrong and another he did not identify, are in the hospital in critical and stable condition, respectively. He did not detail the charges facing the two.

    A search of state court records did not show any prior felony convictions for Armstrong.

    The other two injured people who were previously in critical condition Sunday -- including a 13-year-old boy shot in the melee -- have been upgraded to stable condition, Onofri said.

    It is possible that some victims were injured by cops' bullets as officers were shooting at the suspects, officials said. How many shots were fired in all is still under investigation, they said.

    The fatal eruption of gunfire had a noteworthy impact in a city where gun violence is not uncommon. By Sunday evening, Trenton Public Schools had announced they would adopt beginning Monday a "shelter-in-place" policy, barring access to school buildings by anyone other than students or staff.

    The gunfire rang out at around 3 a.m. at the celebrated community event in Trenton, when about 1,000 people were in attendance. Officials said they are still investigating what sparked the fight, but noted that the arts event did not seem to be a target of the violence.

    Authorities said Art All Night organizers were in the midst of shutting the event down when the shots rang out.

    Organizers could not immediately be reached for comment, but did post a message on the Art All Night Facebook page saying they were "very shocked" and "deeply saddened" by the violence.

    Reporter Thomas Moriarty contributed to this post.

    Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at snietomunoz@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her at @snietomunoz.

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her at @By_paigegross Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    Pets throughout New Jersey await adoption in shelters and rescues.

    Some fun and interesting facts about cats and dogs from Nationwide pet insurance:

    * Dogs only sweat from the bottoms of their feet, the only way they can discharge heat is by panting. Cats do not have sweat glands.

    * Dogs have about 100 different facial expressions, most of them made with the ears.

    * A cat can jump as much as seven times its height.

    * Dogs do not have an appendix.

    * Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

    * Using their swiveling ears like radar dishes, experiments have shown that dogs can locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second.

    * A cat's tongue is scratchy because it's lined with papillae--tiny elevated backwards hooks that help to hold prey in place.

    * When faced with the choice of going the way around something that untangles herself or the way that makes it worse, my dog will choose the wrong way 101 times out of 100.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    The exhibit asking people to imagine "a world without gun violence" was surrounded by crime scene tape the next day.

    A colorful handmade sign hung in a converted steel cable factory Saturday, asking people to envision a reality that might seem impossible.

    "Imagine a world free of gun violence," read the sign posted by a local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. "What do you see?" 

    The display was surrounded by crime scene tape and a swarm of investigators the next morning after an outbreak of gunfire brought a violent end to a 24-hour arts event intended to unite the Trenton community. 

    "It is so lovely," Reba Holley, the Mercer County lead for Moms Demand Action, said of the annual Art All Night festival. "(And) it got damaged by this gun violence that is something that the people in Trenton live with every single day,"

    The event came to an abrupt end around 3 a.m. Sunday, when what prosecutors say was a gang-related dispute left 22 people injured, 17 of whom had been shot. 

    Police shot and killed Tahaji Wells, 33, after he allegedly exchanged gunfire with at least two other suspects, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said Sunday. Authorities said the two other suspects have been hospitalized with their own injuries, and Onofri did not detail any charges against them. 

    Before the sudden danger, however, anti-gun violence activists with Moms Demand Action hung a three-feet by five-feet grid on the wall of the historic Roebling Wire Works building, arranging pieces of card stock on a table in careful piles.

    They welcomed passers-by to write down their visions of a more peaceful world, crumple the papers and stuff them into 8,000 tiny holes on the board. 

    When the gunfire broke out, Holley said, the mural was only about 15 percent full. 

    last-photo-of-moms-demand-action-mural.jpgThe Moms Demand Action - NJ mural as it stood just before the gunfire broke out (Courtesy of Fran Carroll)

    The ruination of the storied community event, which entertained roughly 1,000 people at the time of the shooting, is a reminder that gun violence takes many forms -- not just targeted mass shootings perpetrated by a lone gunman, said Diana Trasatti, the state communications lead for Moms Demand Action - N.J. 

    "Whether it's domestic violence or violence related to neighborhood disputes, all that still results in death and victims and family members mourning," she said. 

    When shots rang out at Art All Night, two Moms Demand Action volunteers were staffing the organization's table near the building's entrance and four other volunteers were roaming around the room, Holley said. 

    She said her volunteers told her a large crowd of people who appeared agitated entered the building and some people soon started backing up. Volunteers at the table hid underneath it when the gunfire erupted, Holley said. 

    Both volunteers have medical backgrounds, she said, so they helped an injured victim at the scene. 

    Fran Carroll, of Hamilton, had just finished her four-and-a-half hour shift manning the Moms Demand Action booth when the violence began. She said she and a friend were walking to an exit at the other end of the building when people started running toward them. 

    Confused for a moment, Carroll said she then heard gunshots, grabbed her friend's hand and began sprinting with the crowd. They passed a fallen metal sculpture, a folding chair on the ground and other debris, Carroll said in a phone interview. 

    As she ran, she said, she thought about the irony of the activism in which she had just been engaged, the two Moms Demand Action volunteers at the table and a victim of February's shooting in Parkland, Fla., whom she had recently met in the course of her activism.

    Carroll and her friend followed a few other people behind a thin, wooden wall where artwork had hung and hid there for a few minutes amid folded tables, buckets and other equipment before a police officer escorted them outside. 

    world-without-fear-mural.jpgA contribution to the mural that Moms Demand Action displayed at Art All Night, asking people to imagine a world without gun violence (Courtesy of Moms Demand Action - NJ)

    Hours beforehand, Carroll had joked with a SWAT team member about how the anti-gun violence activists wanted to create such a radical change that he'd be out of a job, she said.

    She had watched as some people wrote several sentences on their card stock about what a world without gun violence would look like. She saw other people stare off in the distance before they put pen to paper, needing to think hard to envision such a thing. 

    Now, Carroll said she hopes Art All Night will occur again next year and bring the same joviality. 

    "I don't want this gun violence to destroy what this festival was," she said. "I don't want people to feel so unsafe that they say, 'We can't ever go into the city at night or even during the day.'"

    The mural where people displayed their descriptions of a world without gun violence most likely remains intact, Holley said - unfinished and surrounded by remnants of the brutality it could not prevent. 

    She said the fact that prosecutors are calling this a gang-related dispute underscores the need to work for safer neighborhoods in communities like Trenton, where gun violence is far from abnormal

    "Once the urgency of this has passed, we're going to be just as firm in our resolve to continue this battle," Holley said. "It's wrong that in America, your geography determines whether you're safe at home."

    Marisa Iati may be reached at miati@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Iati or on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    Who's the best of the best?


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    A deer broke into a home on Westcott Road in Princeton on Friday and became trapped in a stairwell leading to the basement Watch video

    Oh, deer.

    Princeton police say residents of a home on Westcott Road were startled Friday when a deer smashed through a front window, ran down some stairs and became trapped in a stairwell near the basement.

    The residents, startled by the unexpected visitor, called police.

    Police officers, the fire marshal and animal control officers were able to open a door blocking the deer's exit and guide the animal outside.

    Once outside, the deer scurried through the backyard and disappeared into a wooded area.

    "Hopefully, he'll remember to use his key next time," police joked in a video they posted to social media.

    Except for a few minor cuts, the deer appeared unharmed, police said.

    "He seemed to be more scared than injured," police said.

    Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at tattrino@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    The seven families were given keys to three-bedroom homes after nearly three years of volunteer work

    After months of living in conditions unsuitable for raising children, seven families moved into brand new Habitat for Humanity homes in East Trenton, the organization announced.

    Before getting involved with the Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton branch of Habitat, the families lived in "overcrowded, unaffordable, substandard housing," the organization said. The families received the keys to their new three-bedroom homes Friday morning.

    "These seven families completed 200 sweat-equity hours, volunteering and building homes, also while working multiple jobs, taking care of children and family members, and furthering their education," Lori Leonard, chief executive officer or Habitat for Humanity Burlington County, said. "That is no easy task, so props to all you guys."

    Each of the families will move into the new homes and pay an interest-free, affordable mortgage.

    Leonard said home ownership makes a positive impact on property values and helps revitalize neighborhoods.

    "As I was driving down North Clinton Avenue and I approached these homes, I thought, 'Wow, this really does make a difference.'"

    One of the new homeowners, who went by her first name, Cecilia, said she was part of the Habitat for Humanity program for three years and looks forward to owning a new home.

    "It means so much to us to be able to become a permanent part of the city, and to have a beautiful home so many people have contributed to, trying to make this community so much nicer and unified, which is so important," Cecilia said.

    Gianluca D'Elia may be reached at gdelia@njadvancemedia.comFollow him on Twitter @gianluca_delia. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    N.J. athletes shined over a three-day stretch at nationals.


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    Trenton officials are investigating if some knew before Sunday's shooting if there were warnings.

    Mercer County and Trenton officials said Monday they are investigating 'rumblings' posted on social media about the shooting that killed one and injured 22 people early Sunday morning at the Art All Night festival in downtown Trenton.

    TrentonShootWarning.jpegUndated warning from unnamed person (Facebook) 

    Councilman-elect Jerell Blakeley showed reporters a statement posted by an unknown source Saturday that said, "Please. Please. Please. Do Not Go to the Art All Night. They will be shooting it up."

    On Monday, Blakeley told NJ Advance Media that although the statement was posted Saturday, he didn't see it until after the shooting spree occurred. 

    Blakeley added that he was aware there were "some rumblings online" about a fight, and believed law enforcement was aware of the posts.

    A county official did not indicate when they saw the warning, but said it's a part of the ongoing investigation of the incident, she said.

    "We have been made aware of Facebook and social media posts and are trying to run down the timing of when those posts may have been made," Casey DeBlasio, a spokesperson for the Mercer County prosecutor said in an email Monday. 

    During a press conference Monday morning at the governor's office, Murphy said gang tensions that reportedly fueled the shootout were "an all-too-stark reality on too many streets in this city, and I'm not going to turn my back on Trenton."

    While authorities have said little about the weapons used in the shooting, the governor pointed a finger at the "iron pipeline" -- the term for the Interstate-95 corridor along which experts say illegal weapons travel from places with lax gun laws to gun control-heavy states like New Jersey and New York.

    Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri has identified Tahaij Wells, 32, of Trenton, as one of the gunman. He was shot and killed by police after allegedly exchanging fire with at least two other suspects in a burst of violence. 

    "We need to know how these people obtained their weapons, especially the deceased gunman who was a well-known gang member with a violent past," Murphy said.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 1.31.47 PM.pngTahaij Wells (left) and Amir Armstrong 

    Onofri also named suspect Amir Armstrong, 23, who has been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and is being treated for injuries from Sunday's shooting.

    Onofri said there is a third suspect who is recovering from injuries, but there are currently no charges filed against him. 

    A search of state Superior Court records did not reveal any adult criminal convictions for Armstrong, but did indicate the Ewing resident's arrest in the art festival shooting was far from his first brush with the law.

    Five years ago, Armstrong was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest in a bust for alleged marijuana distribution offenses. Those charges ultimately were dismissed after he successfully completed the state's Pretrial Intervention Program. 

    In 2014, he was again arrested on drug charges, this time accused of possessing and distributing more than 500 grams of marijuana near school property. Most of those charges were dismissed, however, and a lesser possession charge remanded to municipal court.

    Armstrong's most recent arrest was in March, when he was charged with resisting arrest and a disorderly persons complaint. The felony charge was later downgraded to a municipal violation and the disorderly persons complaint sent to municipal court, records show.

    Art All Night organizers have yet to comment on how Sunday's shooting may affect the event moving forward. 

    Pearl Gable, who works for the governor's office and had work in the show, said Monday she still hadn't received word about when artists will be able access their artwork.  

     

    Blakeley said he didn't want the shooting to deter people from attending Trenton events or next year's Art All Night. 

    "There is a tendency when a tragic event occurs to pull back and retreat, but I think Trenton has to show the world that we won't be frightened," he said. "We can't allow folks that mean us harm to change such a beautiful event."

    Reporters Thomas Moriarty and Sean Sullivan contributed to this post.

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her at @By_paigegross Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Belgium and England are heavy favorites to advance out of Group G, and each had a chance to pick up three points.

    Two of the 2018 World Cup favorites played their first matches Monday, on Day five of the tournament.

    Belgium and England are heavy favorites to advance out of Group G, and each had a chance to pick up three points. 

    Sweden and South Korea played out a foul-fest in Group F, with VAR once again helping one of the teams, and denying the other.

    RESULTS 

    Sweden 1-0 South Korea

    Belgium 3-0 Panama

    Tunisia 1-2 England

    MONDAY'S THREE STARS 

    Andreas Granqvist, Sweden

    The captain was immense for his side at the back, helping keep a clean sheet. Granqvist also scored the lone goal from the spot, his first at a World Cup, and was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with an 8.1 ranking.

    Romelu Lukaku, Belgium

    Tallied a second half brace, to put the Belgians out of reach against the World Cup debutants. He was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with an 8.6 rating, and showed that Belgium can be a dangerous team in this tournament.

    Harry Kane, England

    It took until the 91st minute, but England finally broke through against the tough Tunisian team. Kane's injury time header, his second goal of the match, gave him the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with a massive 8.1 rating.

    World Cup 2018 Day 4: Mexico's seismic victory, while Brazil falters

    LUKAKU HELPS BELGIUM ROLL, AS ENGLAND SCRAPES BY BEHIND KANE

    The two Group F heavyweights took to the field Monday, with varying degrees of success, thanks to their two target men.

    Lukaku's brace overpowered tournament newcomer Panama, and helped his squad take control of the group. He was helped by a Dries Mertens wonder strike just after the break that opened up the game.

    Kane scored early, in the 11th minute, and then struck late, to keep England in the race to win the group. Gareth Southgate's substitutions changed the game, with Marcus Rashford on for Raheem Sterling, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek on for Dele Alli. Their pace made it tough for Tunisia, and created chances before the Kane winner.

    It was the fourth injury time goal already in the tournament, which has been full of tight matches.

    TUESDAY SCHEDULE

    The last of the first round of games will be played Tuesday, as the Group H teams take to the pitches. Colombia will play Japan at 8 a.m. EDT on FS1, while Poland will take on Senegal at 11 a.m. EDT on Fox. Both games can also been seen on Fubo.tv.

    The second round of games then gets underway at 2 p.m. EDT on Fox and Fubo.tv, as Russia looks to lock up a knockout stage berth with a win against Egypt. 

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR TUESDAY

    Group H is wide open, and any of the four teams have a chance to advance into the round-of-16. Colombia has a stingy defense, and with 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez in the side, it might be able to find enough goals to get by Japan.

    Can Poland contain Sadio Mane, and will Senegal shut down Robert Lewandowski? This game may be a goal-fest, with the leaky Poland defense and the prolific forward Lewandowski leading the line.

    Will Mohamed Salah play? He is not 100 percent, but at this point, a loss knocks out the Egyptian team.

    Can Alexandr Golovin carry the hosts into the next round? He is one of the top young players at the tournament, and could become a legend with another huge match.

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean His weekly podcast, Box to Box Football, can be found on iTunes here https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/box-to-box-football/id1208561351?mt=2


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    The tragedy that took place early Sunday morning at the Roebling Wire Works does not negate the thousands of hours of good work and good will that go into the well-attended production.

    For a dozen years, organizers of the Art All Night extravaganza have worked to make the third weekend in June special for thousands of visitors.

    For a dozen years, they've built their annual event into a venue showcasing the energy, creativity and talent of area painters, sculptors, filmmakers and musicians, while satisfying an astonishing variety of tastes.

    They've fed our bodies and our souls.

    The tragedy that took place early Sunday morning at the Roebling Wire Works does not negate the thousands of hours of good work and good will that go into the well-attended production.

    Nor should it spell an end to Art All Night as we know it.

    'Please. DO NOT GO,' Facebook post warned before shooting

    The community is still processing what went on when gunshots rang out as about 1,000 people were enjoying the festivities. The ensuing chaos left one man dead and injured 22 other people, including a 13-year-old boy.

    Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri identified the dead man as the shooter, and said the incident appeared to be gang related. Two other suspects remain in the hospital.

    Inevitably, some people will whine that the days after a fatal shooting are too soon to bring up matters like gun safety and the tightening of gun laws.

    We call BS on that - it's never too soon. Now, when the emotions are raw and the reality is still sinking in, is exactly the time when we should be talking about - and doing something about - the plague that continues to slaughter Americans as they go about their daily lives.

    To his great credit, Gov. Phil Murphy has just enacted a set of gun laws seen as some of the strictest in the nation.

    Speaking at a news conference after Sunday services at Galilee Baptist Church in Trenton just hours after the shooting, the governor said, "We know we are getting stronger and better, but we're a long way from getting rid of this senselessness."

    That doesn't mean we can quit the fight. That would be equal to saying we we'll never completely wipe out cancer, so we might as well stop trying.

    Similarly, it would be a tragedy if what happened over the weekend spelled the end of the festival, which is both a source of pride for residents and a cornerstone of efforts to fashion Trenton into a cultural and arts center.

    While organizers were totally right to pull the plug immediately after the melee, Art All Night is too vital to become a victim of yet another senseless gang shooting.

    Increase security, of course. But please don't give up on the city you've done so much to enrich over the years.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    Three people exchanged gunfire just before 3 a.m. Sunday. One of the men, a 32-year-old reputed Bloods gang member named Tahaij Wells, was shot and killed by police. Watch video

    A day after a shootout left 17 people shot at a 24-hour arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey's capital city was feeling aftershocks from the stunning gunplay.

    Among the institutions affected by the shooting at Art All Night were the city's public schools, some of which opted to push back pre-K and kindergarten "move-up" ceremonies that had been scheduled for Monday.

    A spokeswoman for Trenton Public Schools said the schools elected to reschedule the ceremonies "in light of recent events."

    "This is not based on any schools being identified for any reason," the spokeswoman, Alexandrea Robinson-Rogers, said. Graduation ceremonies for the district's high schools were still scheduled for next week as of Monday afternoon.

    Investigators said three people exchanged gunfire inside the historic Roebling Wire Works just before 3 a.m. Sunday as the 24-hour festival was in full swing. One of the men, a 32-year-old reputed Bloods gang member named Tahaij Wells, was shot and killed by police.

    The two others implicated in the shooting have been hospitalized with injuries of their own, and the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office has yet to announce formal criminal charges.

    Overall, 17 of the 22 people injured suffered gunshot wounds, authorities said.

    In a letter to parents and staff on Sunday, Superintendent Fred McDowell said everyone except students and staff would be barred from school buildings "until further notice" under a shelter-in-place safety protocol.

    "We will continue to take all necessary measures to provide a safe and secure learning environment," he said.

    Far beyond the doors of the city's classrooms, the art community that fostered the event is still taking stock of what needs to be done to move forward.

    James Peeples, a former board member of Artworks, which produces Art All Night, said he had been in contact with current board members and described their past few days as nothing short of a nightmare.

    "I spoke with them to see if they were planning on making any kind of statement to the media and (they) said, 'We can't breathe right now,'" Peeples told NJ Advance Media.

    Peeples said organizers now face numerous logistical challenges as they try to return the approximately 1,500 pieces of art from the Wire Works, a historic building that is now a crime scene.

    Artists had come from as far away as South Carolina to have their work featured in the show, he said.

    "The creative community wants to see this happen again next year," Peeples said. "We want to change the narrative about what Art All Night is.

    "We want to change the visual and the spoken message about what this city is about, and the beautiful community. We believe the arts and the humanities and the creative community is what is going to bring Trenton back. Music and art and culture and restaurant and alternative things to do are what will revitalize this community."

    Thomas Moriarty may be reached at tmoriarty@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriarty.

    Alexis Johnson may be reached at ajohnson@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexisjreports.

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    Two California men, one of them a commercial truck driver, were arrested and face multiple drug and conspiracy charges

    Federal authorities seized 51 pounds of methamphetamine and 20 pounds of heroin in a bust Sunday in the Hamilton Marketplace shopping center in Mercer County after receiving a tip from a source about a large drug deal, authorities said.

    Gabriel Acosta Villa, 29, of Lake Forest, California, and Oscar Perez Jr., 23, a commercial truck driver from Santa Ana, California, appeared in federal court on Monday on multiple drug and conspiracy charges. A judge ordered both men detained.

    The arrests resulted from a Department of Homeland Security investigation that led to information from a source about the drug deal in the Mercer County area involving a commercial truck driver and an accomplice on Sunday, according to a complaint filed in federal court.

    Federal agents set up surveillance at the Hamilton Marketplace, a sprawling complex of big box retailers and chain restaurants less than 2 miles from the NJ Turnpike in Hamilton Township, authorities said.

    Feds seize 8 lbs. of meth in bust outside Buffalo Wild Wings in N.J.

    Villa was seen walking through the parking lot of the McDonald's at the front of the complex just before midnight Sunday carrying two large bags, authorities said. He got into a minivan parked in the lot and the minivan then drove to another parking area in the complex for a hardware store, according to the complaint.

    Authorities surrounded the vehicle and found 51.31 pounds of methamphetamine packaged in 1-pound amounts, officials said. Villa was arrested and a search of the area led authorities to Perez, who was walking alone in the nearby loading docks for the hardware store, authorities said.

    Perez's tractor-trailer was idling at the loading docks and authorities found an additional 20 pounds of heroin in the truck's cab, authorities said.

    The driver of the minivan involved in the alleged drug deal was not identified by authorities.

    If convicted, Acosta and Perez face up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 10 years. The State Police and Drug Enforcement Administration assisted in the investigation, authorities said.

    nj-meth-heroin-bust-hamilton-marketplace.jpgFederal authorities arrested two California men and seized 70 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin in the parking lot of Hamilton Marketplace in Mercer County late Sunday.  
     

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    No one was hurt in the early-morning blaze in Hightstown

    A fire that swept through a liquor store and an adjacent restaurant in Hightstown on Tuesday morning left both businesses damaged. 

    No one was inside when firefighters responded to the call on the 100 block of Stockton Street around 5:15 a.m. on a report of heavy smoke coming out of Hightstown Liquor, according to police Sgt. Benjamin Miller. 

    Photos from the scene show that the gutted inside of the Ecuaudorian restaurant, Antojitos Ecuatorianos.

    Robbinsville firefighters assisted Highstown Engine Company No. 1 in quickly knocking down the blaze.

    Fire officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment.  

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    NJ.com highlights the best players in N.J. from the 2018 season.


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    New Jersey law enforcement officials and community and religious leaders met in Trenton to talk about how to move on from the tragic shooting that left one dead and up to 29 injured

    In a second-floor room of Friendship Baptist Church Tuesday morning, surrounded by the state's top law enforcement officials, clergy leaders and Trenton residents, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri announced that a second man has been officially charged in the Art All Night shooting that left one dead and up to 29 injured. 

    davone-white.jpgDavone White, 26, of Trenton 

    Davone White, 26, of Trenton, faces multiple weapons offenses, including being in the possession of a large-capacity magazine. He is still being treated for injuries from the shooting, Onofri said

    Amir Armstrong, charged on Sunday, is now officially facing one count of possession of a weapon. The prosecutor's office has not detailed White's, Armstrong's, or Tahaij Wells's exact roles or affiliations in regards to the shooting. Wells was shot and killed by police in the exchange of cgunfire.

    Pastor John Taylor invited Onofri and other officials to join the Capital City Community Coalition to discuss recent episodes of violence in Trenton and how to move forward. Onofri identified neighborhood tension and disputes as a major motive in the shooting. 

    "We don't get over this in one instance," Taylor told the residents and community leaders. "No mother births a child for them to become a gang member."

    Onofri said it's unfortunate that residents are using guns to settle disputes, and that he understands the effects gun violence has on families in Trenton.

    "It's a hurt and a pain that never goes away, and I know all of you are hurting because of it every day," Onofri said.

    Onofri also addressed concerns about a Facebook post that warned Art All Night festival-goers about a shooting. He said the message had been posted by a teacher in Hamilton Township about 14 hours before the shooting occurred.

    He added that the prosecutor's office is attempting to get a formal statement from her, as she is currently in North Carolina. Onofri urged others to call the police if they have inside information, instead of posting on social media. 

    Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said that lax gun laws in other states are to blame for weapons getting into New Jersey and being used in criminal acts. 

    We are going to "name and shame" these other states with loose gun laws, Grewal said. He also discussed targeting violent criminal gangs and aggressively prosecuting them to deter this type of crime.

    All law enforcement officers who spoke reiterated that the city shouldn't back down from hosting Art All Night and other opportunities for Trenton residents and visitors to come together.

    Officials and organizers have talked of increased security, but Onofri promised it wouldn't be "a militarized state." 

    Gusciora said there were only four Trenton Police officers at the event because it was a peaceful event that relied on a lot of volunteers for support. 

    "This is a post-Parkland discussion," Gusciora told NJ Advance Media after the press conference.

    Moving forward, he said, the city will have to work with community church leaders and non-profits and increase the city's recreation budget to give young people options outside of getting involved in violent activities. 

    Onofri added that the artists and organizers waiting to retrieve their work from the scene should be able to do so at some point Tuesday, if the investigation can be wrapped up. 

    "We will not accept our city being turned upside down," Pastor Taylor said. 

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her at @By_paigegross Find NJ.com on Facebook

    Gianluca D'Elia may be reached at gdelia@njadvancemedia.comFollow him on Twitter @gianluca_delia. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Two plays turned Group H on its head Tuesday, as Japan and Senegal both took three points.

    After Mexico beat Germany, and big teams like Argentina and Brazil drew their first matches on the weekend, there was more chaos on Tuesday at day six of the 2018 World Cup.

    A moment of madness in the third minute of the Japan Colombia game, plus an interesting goal in the Senegal Poland match, may have changed Group H, and continued the early bedlam that has made this tournament one of the best in recent memory.  

    Finally, the host team continued its early domination of Group A, and will be the first team to move on to the knockout stages Wednesday if Uruguay get at least a point.

    What will happen next?

    RESULTS 

    Colombia 1-2 Japan

    Poland 1-2 Senegal

    Russia 3-1 Egypt

    TUESDAY'S THREE STARS

    Yuya Osaka, Japan

    The forward scored the game winner in the 73rd minute. He was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with a massive 8.4 rating.

    M'Baye Niang, Senegal

    Came back on the pitch from the sideline and ran onto a mistaken pass, to give Senegal a 2-0 lead. He was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with a 7.64 rating.

    Artem Dzyuba, Russia

    On the back of an own goal, the Russians were rampant in the second half against Egypt. Dzyuba, the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with an 8.06 rating (just ahead of team mate Denis Cherychev's 8.01), scored the third goal for Russia.

    Day 5: Belgium rolls behind Lukaku, while Kane saves day for England

    SANCHEZ RED, NIANG DISPUTED GOAL, HAVE GROUP H UPSIDE DOWN

    Two plays turned Group H on its head Tuesday, as Japan and Senegal both took three points.

    Colombia's Carlos Sanchez got the second fastest red card in World Cup history, as he stuck out his arm to deny an obvious goal-scoring attempt. Shinji Kagawa scored on the ensuing penalty, but it was not until the 73rd minute that the Asian side scored the winner.

    Senegal completed the crazy day in the group with a relatively easy  win over Poland. Niang's controversial 60th minute strike killed off the match. He was on the sideline after an injury, and was waved back onto the pitch by the referee just as a Poland player passed the ball back toward the keeper. 

    Niang ran onto the ball, rounded Wojciech Szczesny, and tapped the ball into the open net, to put Senegal in pole position to advance. The Senegalese team is very dangerous, and may prove to be a team that could give problems to some of the tournament heavyweights going forward, including a potential round-of-16 matchup with either Belgium or England.

    Finally, Russia all but qualified for the knockout stages with its win over Egypt, thanks to a second half barrage. It sets up a potential Group A winner-take-all match with Uruguay Monday, if the South Americans can beat Saudi Arabia, a 5-0 loser to Russia on match day one.

    WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE

    Group B kicks off second round play, while Group A finishes its second round.

    Portugal will play Morocco at 8 a.m. EDT on FS1, while the second Group B match will pit Iran against Spain at 2 p.m. EDT on Fox. Both games can also be seen on Fubo.tv

    In between, Uruguay will look to advance to the knockout stages with a win over Saudi Arabia at 11 a.m. EDT on Fox and Fubo.tv.

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR WEDNESDAY

    Which team will take charge of Group B?

    Spain needs a win over Iran, which leads the group coming into Wednesday. Any result for Iranians could set them up for a trip to the knockout stages.

    Will Ronaldo kick on from his stunning match against Spain? 

    Portugal needs a win as well over Morocco, as anything less sets up a tough match day three against Iran.

    Will Uruguay rest some players against Saudi Arabia?

    The South American side should cruise, but goal difference could be pivotal to win the group, with Russia already on six points with a plus-six goal difference.

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean His weekly podcast, Box to Box Football, can be found on iTunes here https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/box-to-box-football/id1208561351?mt=2


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