Trenton Man Arrested for Murder

May 7, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that an investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force lead to the arrest this morning of Dion Duncan for last week’s murder of Ramire Harvey.

Dion Duncan, 24, was arrested Friday morning in Bristol, Pennsylvania, by the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force.  He is charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and one count of third-degree receiving stolen property.  The prosecutor’s office will be filing a motion to detain Duncan pending trial.

“This is the type of investigation where the capabilities of the Homicide Task Force are truly highlighted,” Prosecutor Onofri said.  “Having multi-jurisdictional personnel available to not only retrieve but review surveillance video and body-worn camera footage with such expediency is what allowed detectives to solve this murder the same night.”

Prosecutor Onofri also commended the new real-time crime and intelligence center in Trenton, which assisted in reviewing surveillance video.

Just before 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 29, 2021, Trenton police were dispatched to the 400 block of North Clinton Avenue on a report of a motor vehicle accident. Responding officers located Ramire Havery seated in the driver’s seat of a dark-colored Audi sedan that had crashed into two parked cars in the area of North Clinton Avenue and Poplar Street.  The Audi had multiple bullet holes in the rear and passenger side of the vehicle.  Harvey was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.     

A crime scene was established and secured, and patrol officers located a shooting scene on Meade Street where 10 .40 caliber spent shell casings were discovered.

As part of the investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force, area video surveillance and body-worn camera footage were reviewed, and witnesses were interviewed.  Detectives received information that the shooter was Dion Duncan.

Surveillance video was obtained from the area that captured the shooting.  A review of the video depicted the victim arriving on Meade Street from North Clinton Avenue in an Audi.  Harvey made a U-turn and double parked in front of 15 Meade Street.  He exited his vehicle and began to speak with a male subject in the middle of the street.  While the two men were standing together, the shooting suspect walked from the front of the residence a few doors down and began to shoot at Harvey as he approached him.  As Harvey retreated to his vehicle, the suspect ran down Meade Street and into an alley.  Approximately 20 seconds later, the suspect returned and ran inside of a Meade Street residence.

Further review of surveillance video showed the suspect wearing a multicolored hooded sweatshirt, black pants, a yellow right shoe and a red left shoe approximately 12 minutes before the shooting.  A search warrant was executed at the Meade Street residence in which Duncan ran inside, where detectives located a multicolor Nike zip-up hoodie and a black do-rag hidden inside a kitchen cabinet.  A black, .40 caliber Glock Model 22 handgun was located on the rear porch of the residence, which is accessible from the alleyway alongside.

Review of body-worn camera footage from Trenton police officers who responded to Meade Street showed a black male leaving the Meade Street residence.  Although the man had changed his clothes and attempted to conceal his face while in front of the officers, he was later identified as Dion Duncan.  Upon leaving the area, the suspect crossed to the opposite side of Meade Street and continued in the direction of North Clinton Avenue. 

The .40 caliber Glock handgun was confirmed stolen out of Griffin, Georgia.

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Related MidJersey.news stories here:

UPDATED NEWS STORY HERE: Victim Identified in Thursday Night Homicide in Trenton

Yesterday’s MidJersey.news story here: UPDATE: Driver Found Shot Dead In Audi Involved In Crash



Video from the scene the day of the murder.

Mother's Day Sale

Names of 2021* homicide victims:

  1. 2/18/2021 Jabree Saunders, 26, from shooting on May 14, 2018
  2. 2/22/2021 Khalil Gibbs, 25, of West Windsor, shooting
  3. 2/25/2021 Lovelle Laramore, 60, of Trenton shooting
  4. 4/15/2021 Kaheem Carter, 22, of Trenton, shooting
  5. 4/20/2021 Shaquan McNeil, 25, of Trenton, shooting
  6. 4/24/2021 Cheryl Jones, 65, of Trenton, shooting
  7. 4/29/2021 Ramire Harvey, 25, of Trenton, shooting

*Updated to reflect the person who died in 2021 from the May 14, 2018 shooting.


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St. Francis Medical Center Will Become A Part Of Capital Health


May 7, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Capital Health and St. Francis Medical Center, a member of Trinity Health, have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI). Under this LOI, St. Francis Medical Center will become a part of Capital Health.

The non-binding LOI is the first step in evaluating and designing a framework that will enhance health care services and create a new model of care for residents of Trenton and the surrounding area. The goal is to work toward a definitive agreement that will create a more comprehensive and sustainable health care system for our community. “From its founding as the city’s first hospital in 1874 to its important role as an acute care teaching hospital and Mercer County’s only provider of comprehensive cardiac surgery, St. Francis Medical Center has always put the needs of Trenton and surrounding neighborhoods first,” said Al Maghazehe, President and CEO of Capital Health. “This approach aligns very well with Capital Health’s mission, and we are committed to our shared vision of providing the highest level of care for the community.”

“The health care industry is always evolving to advance medicine and improve delivery of care to the communities we serve,” said Samuel J. Plumeri, Jr., chairman of Capital Healthcare, Inc. Board of Trustees. “The changes we’re seeing here in Mercer County are a reflection of what’s going on nationally, but our neighbors in Trenton and nearby communities can rest assured that we will continue to keep their interests at the center of all we do.”

Both hospitals are known for providing advanced care and for ensuring local access to high-quality, comprehensive and affordable health care services.

“Both Capital Health and St. Francis Medical Center are deeply committed to caring for residents of our community,” said Daniel P. Moen, President and Chief Executive Officer, St. Francis Medical Center. “The rapidly changing healthcare landscape presents challenges, but it is through a shared mission that both organizations look to expand services and positively impact the health and well-being of local and regional residents.”

“As a safety net hospital, ensuring the community has access to care is the heart of our mission,” said Joseph Youngblood, II, J.D., Ph.D., Chairman, Board of Trustees, St. Francis Medical Center. “In response to a broad national transformation of health care, we look to combine our strengths with those of Capital, a healthcare leader, and grow services for our residents. Together, we are steadfast in our commitment to provide area residents, including the underserved with high-quality, comprehensive care and to improve the delivery of healthcare for our community. Our partnership with Capital Health will be a fitting legacy to the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for their decades of service to Trenton and Mercer County.”

Capital Health and St. Francis now enter a period of due diligence. The process includes evaluation and discussion to determine how to best combine and enhance their capabilities to more effectively fulfill their missions to the citizens of Trenton and the surrounding area. Approvals will be necessary from State and Federal officials and others before the transaction is able to be completed.

Throughout the process, Capital Health and St. Francis remain committed to sustaining and advancing the comprehensive, high quality services they provide to residents of the greater Trenton area. Areas of focus will include exploring opportunities to expand access to care and improved efficiency in health care delivery.



About Capital Health

Capital Health is the Central New Jersey/Lower Bucks County region’s leader in providing progressive, quality patient care with significant investments in physicians, nurses and staff, as well as advanced technology. Comprised of two hospitals (Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton and Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell), a Hamilton outpatient facility, and various primary and specialty care practices across the region, Capital Health is a dynamic health care resource accredited by DNV GL – Healthcare.

A four-time Magnet-designated health system for nursing excellence, Capital Health serves as a Level II regional trauma center, regional perinatal center (including a Level III NICU), and emergency mental health screening center. Capital Health also offers the region’s first and most experienced Pediatric Emergency Department and most recently, New Jersey’s first Autism-Friendly Pediatric Emergency Department. Capital Health also provides innovative programs such as Capital Institute for Neurosciences; nationally accredited Center for Comprehensive Breast Care; Center for Digestive Health; Marjorie G. Ernest Joint Replacement Center of Excellence; award-winning Cancer Center; and the Heart & Vascular Institute, which includes the region’s first accredited Chest Pain Center. For more information, visit www.capitalhealth.org.

About St. Francis Medical Center

Accredited by The Joint Commission, St. Francis Medical Center has a long history of providing care to the community, having served Central Jersey residents for nearly 150 years. As an acute-care teaching hospital, St. Francis Medical Center, a member of Trinity Health, is known as the region’s Heart Hospital. St. Francis is the only facility in Mercer County with a state-issued certificate of need to perform cardiac surgery, including open-heart surgery as well as minimally invasive, robotic heart surgery. The Center of Excellence for Heart Health also provides high-level cardiac catheterization, angioplasty services, sophisticated ablation and heart arrhythmia treatments and advanced diagnostics. St. Francis regional services also include its award-winning Stroke Program, as well as Emergency Services, Sleep Disorder Center, Behavioral Health Inpatient Service and HIV Program. It is a teaching hospital offering an internal medical residency program through Jersey Shore University Medical Center, as well as a School of Nursing and a School of Radiologic Technology. St. Francis’ partner in care is LIFE St. Francis (Living Independently For Elders), a program for the all-inclusive care of the elderly based in Bordentown, NJ. The medical center provides care to patients throughout Mercer County, Burlington County, and nearby Bucks County, PA. For more information, visit www.stfrancismedical.org.

About Trinity Health

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 100 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities, and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Michigan, and with annual operating revenues of $18.8 billion and assets of $30.5 billion, the organization returns $1.3 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 123,000 colleagues, including 6,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country’s aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services — ranked by number of visits — in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs. For more information, visit trinity-health.org. You can also follow Trinity Health on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.



Lacrosse: WWP-North 4 At Allentown 12

May 6, 2021

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–West Windsor Plainsboro North lacrosse team was at Allentown High School this afternoon. The final score was Allentown 12 WWP-N 4

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Trenton man who tried to evade DWI arrested, found with firearm

May 6, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

BELMAR BOROUGH (MONMOUTH)– A Trenton resident has been arrested after avoiding a DWI checkpoint while under the influence.

The New Jersey State Police have arrested Christopher Gosley, 33, of Trenton, N.J. after he attempted to evade a DWI checkpoint in Belmar Borough, Monmouth County.

On Sunday, May 2, at 1:28 a.m., troopers observed a Chevrolet Equinox allegedly attempt to avoid a DWI checkpoint by travelling outside of the orange traffic-coned lanes and travel southbound in the northbound lanes of State Highway 35. Trooper Ryker Toscano was able to stop the vehicle shortly after the incident.

During the stop, Trooper Toscanini determined that Gosley was under the influence of drugs and arrested him without incident. Further investigation revealed that Gosley was in possession of a handgun, a high capacity magazine, and drug paraphernalia.

Christopher Gosley was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, possession of a high-capacity magazine, possession of paraphernalia, certain persons not to have weapons, hindering, refusal to submit fingerprints, and obstruction. He was lodged in Monmouth County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.

2nd Alarm Fire Chadwick Beach Section Of Toms River

May 6, 2021

By: Ryan Mack, MidJersey.news Jersey Shore Bureau – Jersey Shore Fire Response

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Toms River Police Department stated that On Thursday, May 6, 2021 at approximately 9:25 AM, multiple police and fire units were dispatched to Tamiami Drive in Chadwick Beach for a house fire.  The homeowners were able to get out of the house safely, and there is nothing suspicious at this time.  The incident remains under investigation and a full release will be available upon completion.


Around 9:27 AM Ocean County toned out Stations 27,44,45,69 & 26 for RIT with the OC Fire Coordinators to a working structure fire on the East side of Toms River (Chadwick Beach). Station 44 (seaside heights) was first due they quickly upgraded the working fire assignment to a 2nd alarm. Upon arrival they made a recuse for one resident that was still inside the home along with Toms River Police Department. They quickly stretched a line from the ladder truck and got to work while they figured out a water supply. The second truck in was TRFD East Dover and crews got to work fast as the fire started to pick back up. After hooking the hydrant they started to knock the fire that was now well involved in the 2nd and 3rd floor. TRFD Stations 25,26,28 & 29 were also on scene to provide RIT and more manpower. After the bulk of the fire was knocked they ran the master streams for a bit. After 15 mins the fire was completely knocked and overhaul started. The fire is under investigation at this time by the Toms River Fire Bureau.



Photos and video by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response follow their Youtube channel

Jersey Shore Fire Response Facebook



Howell, Monmouth County Business Man Sentenced To One Year In Prison For Tax Evasion

May 6, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Monmouth County, New Jersey, business owner was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in prison for tax evasion and failure to pay the IRS over $540,000 in employment taxes, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

Wilson Salas-Molina, 41, of Howell, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an information charging him with one count of payroll tax evasion and one count of failure to collect, account for, and pay over payroll taxes. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

Salas-Molina was the owner and operator of US Contractor Inc. (aka Wilson Contractors Inc., aka WC Contractor Inc.), a roofing business located in Monmouth County. From 2012 to 2018, Salas-Molina was required to withhold and pay over to the IRS the employment taxes for US Contractor employees. Salas-Molina cashed checks he received from roofing clients at a check cashing service and paid his 14 employees in cash to conceal his payment of wages and his failure to report, account for, and pay over employment taxes to the IRS. The scheme resulted in a failure to withhold and pay over $540,000 in employment taxes to the IRS.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Salas-Molina to three years of supervised release and ordered Salas-Molina to pay $541,181 in restitution to the IRS.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney A. Howard of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

21-189

Defense counsel: Jonathan Goldin Esq., Staten Island, New York


Trenton Fire Department Responds To Multiple Fires

May 6, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–It is a busy morning for the Trenton Fire Department has responded to at least three separate working fires this morning and even a fire last night.

The first fire of the morning was reported around 6:50 am in the 1st Block of Peace Street. Trenton firefighters arriving on location reported a three story end of a row with light smoke showing. Firefighters stretched a handline line to the basement and extinguished the fire. The incident commander requested the fire marshal and housing department to respond. There were reports there was another fire at that address overnight.

Another fire was reported shortly after 8:00 am in the 900 Block of West State Street. Firefighters arriving reported a fire in the basement and an “all hands” was called for sending additional equipment to the scene. Firefighters were met with a basement fire that was extending to the first floor and multiple handlines were stretched to combat the fire. There were reports of two residents with smoke inhalation and one was transported to the hospital by Trenton EMS.

One of the neighbor from West State Street stated that the occupants were banging on the door and asked for her to call 9-1-1 and the Trenton Fire Department was on scene within one minute of her call.

The third today, fire was reported around 9:20 a.m. in the 1st Block of Handcock Street. The fire was in a 2 1/2 story home in the middle of a row was quickly knocked down by firefighters. There were reports of one person suffering smoke inhalation but it was unclear if the person was transported to the hospital.

Another fire was also reported last night, Trenton Fire Department responded to the 100 Block of Jackson Street with a fire reported 2nd floor bedroom fire. Trenton firefighters stretched two lines and knocked the fire down quickly. The fire chief called for the fire marshal for the investigation. It was reported that firefighters were able to keep fire spreading in the bedroom and the residents were able to stay in their home last night.



Man Identified In Fatal Trenton House Fire

May 6, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Trenton Police Department has identified the man who died in the North Clinton Avenue Fire on May 3, 2021 as Wayne A Dekle, 64 last known address 89 Ewing St., Trenton.

Police said in a prior press release, On Monday, May 3, 2021, Trenton Police Sergeant Charles Fackenthall was on patrol when he noticed smoke coming from vacant houses at 426 and 428 N. Clinton Ave.  The Trenton Fire Department responded to extinguish the fire.  While doing so they recovered a deceased victim from 430 N. Clinton Ave, which by that point was also engulfed. 

The vacant building has been demolished since the last update.

See story below for further information:

Related MidJersey.news story here: Homeless Man Dies In Fire


Road Repair And Paving Scheduled For Assunpink WMA

May 6, 2021

UPPER FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–There will be road repair/paving activity at the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area Tuesday, May 11 through Wednesday, May 19, 2021. There will be no road closures but traffic may be reduced to one lane. The Conservation Center parking lot will be closed one day for paving during the work period.



Robbinsville Township, April 2021 Police Blotter

May 5, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township April 2021 Police Blotter:


  1. DWI
    Date: April 1, 2021
    Time: 0056
    Location: Hutchinson Road
    Reporting Officer: Patrolman Ryan Meehan

Accused: Mark Pasierb Age 57
Robbinsville, NJ
Charged: Driving While Intoxicated
Reckless Driving
Careless Driving
Failure to Maintain Lane
Open Container of Alcohol

Charged and released pending Court.


  1. DWI
    Date: April 2, 2021
    Time: 0102
    Location: Andover Place
    Reporting Officer: Patrolman Ryan Meehan

Accused: Gabriel Hernandez Age 20
Hamilton, NJ
Charged: Driving While Intoxicated
Reckless Driving
Careless Driving
Failure to Maintain Lane

Charged and released pending Court.


  1. Burglary/Theft
    Date: April 11, 2021
    Time: 1108
    Location: A&M Market
    Reporting Officer: Patrolman Kevin Corrigan

Victim reported that during overnight hours an unknown person(s) removed between $15,000-$20,000 in landscape and power equipment from a locked trailer on the property.


  1. Trespassing
    Date: April 12, 2021
    Time: 1804
    Location: Trails End Motel
    Reporting Officer: Patrolman James Pica

Accused: Keasia McCoy Age 54
Lawrence, NJ
Charged: Trespassing

Charged and transported to Mercer County Workhouse on Contempt Charges


  1. Burglary/Theft
    Date: April 19, 2021
    Time: 0822
    Location: 19 Woodside Road
    Reporting Officer: Patrolman Kevin Corrigan

Victim reported a pressure washer, several catalytic converters and a vehicle removed from his business.


  1. Theft/Burglary
    Date: April 21, 2021
    Time:1222
    Location: Jersey Strong
    Reporting Officer: Patrolman Allison Ricci

Accused: Jordan Iturrey Age 26
Elizabeth, NJ
Charged: Theft
Burglary
Trespassing

Charged and released pending Court


  1. Hindering Apprehension
    Date: April 25, 2021
    Time: 1420
    Location: I-195
    Reporting Officer: Patrolman Thomas Septak

Accused: Wayne Morris Age 33
Trenton, NJ
Charged: Eluding
Obstruction
Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle
Careless Driving
Unlicensed Driver
Charged and released pending Court.


  1. Narcotics
    Date: April 28, 2021
    Time: 1435
    Location: I-195
    Reporting Officer: Sergeant Scott Kivet

Accused: Joseph Sawyer Age 54
Hamilton, NJ
Charged: Possession of Methamphetamine
Possession of CDS Paraphernalia
CDS in a Motor Vehicle
Unregistered Vehicles

Charged and released pending Court.


All accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a Court of law.


Lakewood Man Sentenced To 8 Years For Robbery

May 5, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on May 5, 2021, Elioenai Aguinaga, 32, of Lakewood, was sentenced by the Honorable Rochelle Gizinski, J.S.C., to eight years New Jersey State Prison as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Robbery in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1a(2). This sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, meaning that Aguinaga will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility. Aguinaga pled guilty to the charge before Judge Gizinski on January 27, 2021.

On March 26, 2020, Officers of the Lakewood Township Police Department were summoned to Taylor’s Pharmacy on Madison Avenue for a report of a robbery. Responding Officers learned that a male suspect had entered the pharmacy, brandished a semi-automatic handgun at the store clerk, and demanded money from the cash register. The suspect took approximately $130 and fled the pharmacy.

A subsequent investigation by the Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau ultimately determined that Aguinaga was, in fact, the individual who committed the robbery at Taylor’s Pharmacy on March 26th. On April 25, 2020, Aguinaga was arrested by Officers from the Lakewood Township Police Department. He has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his apprehension.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Kaitlyn Burke who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the diligence and resolve exhibited by Officers of the Lakewood Township Police Department and Detective Bureau in their investigation of this matter which resulted in Aguinaga’s guilty plea, and ultimately the lengthy state prison sentence imposed today.


Toms River Couple Charged With Promoting Prostitution And Money Laundering

May 5, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on April 28, 2021, and April 29, 2021, Wayne Lefkowitz, 56, of Toms River, and Guihua Cui, 51, also of Toms River, were each charged with Promoting Prostitution in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1b(2), as well as and two counts of Money Laundering in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25. Lefkowitz and Cui are a married couple.

A year-long investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit revealed that a business known as Spa 1800, located on Lakewood Road in Toms River, was owned and operated by Lefkowitz and Cui. Although the spa appeared to be operating as a legitimate business, individuals patronizing the spa were offered sexual favors in exchange for money. Additionally, the investigation revealed that Lefkowitz and Cui would deposit monetary proceeds from the spa into several different bank accounts in an attempt to avoid transaction reporting requirements under New Jersey state law.

On April 28, 2021, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Internal Affairs Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Squad, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Police Department Patrol Division, and New Jersey State Police, executed court-authorized search warrants on Spa 1800 and Lefkowitz’s and Cui’s residence on McCormick Drive in Toms River. Detectives also executed court-authorized seizure orders on bank accounts held by Lefkowitz and Cui. Lefkowitz and Cui were each charged on summonses pending a future court date.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Internal Affairs Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Homeland Security/Intelligence Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Police Department Patrol Division, and New Jersey State Police, for their cooperative assistance in connection with this investigation.

The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Brick Township Man Sentenced To 2 Years Probation And 10 Days Community Service For Animal Cruelty

May 5, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on May 5, 2021, Quintin Alec-Manning, 22, of Brick Township, was sentenced by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., to a two-year term of probation as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Animal Cruelty in violation of N.J.S.A. 4:22-17c(1). Alec-Manning was also sentenced to perform ten days of community service, and is prohibited from owning or working with animals during the term of his probation. The State argued for Alec-Manning to serve 90 days in the Ocean County Jail as a condition of probation. Alec-Manning pled guilty to the charge before Judge Ryan on March 15, 2021.

On May 29, 2019, Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department were notified that a motor vehicle struck five geese in the parking lot of the Indian Head Plaza in Toms River, causing their death. A subsequent investigation by the Toms River Police Department identified Alec-Manning as the individual who purposely hit the geese with his motor vehicle. On May 30, 2019, Alec-Manning was arrested, charged, and released on a summons pending future court appearances.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Victoria Veni who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Toms River Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife, for their combined assistance in connection with this investigation, ultimately resulting in Alec-Manning’s guilty plea and today’s sentence.


Minor Damage After Resident Burns Sage In Apartment Building

May 5, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Fire Department responded to a reported apartment fire at 101 South Warren Street just after 12 p.m. Smoke and fire was reported on the 3rd floor and an all hands was called for sending additional equipment to the scene. It was found that the resident was burning sage on the windowsill with some minor extension to the windowsill. Fire was quickly extinguished and residents were allowed to return to their building. Luckily there was only minor damage to the windowsill.

No further information is available.


Trenton Man Arrested for Lying to Police in Connection to Homicide of Kaheem Carter

May 5, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that a Trenton man has been arrested and charged with lying to police during the investigation into Kaheem Carter’s April murder.

The investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force led to the arrest earlier this week of Isaiah Ellis, 19, Emmitt Littles, 24, and Isaiah Porter, 25, for the fatal shooting.

On Tuesday afternoon, May 4, 2021, Xzavier Williams, 23, was arrested at his Trenton residence by HTF members.  He was released on a summons pending future court proceedings.  Williams is charged with giving false information to law enforcement officers, a third-degree crime.

At approximately 1:50 a.m. on April 15, 2021, Trenton police were dispatched to the area of 1137 Hamilton Avenue on a report of shots fired.  Responding officers located the victim, later identified as 22-year-old Kaheem Carter, laying on the ground on Cunningham Alley near the intersection of South Walter Avenue.  Carter was unresponsive and suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.  He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Thirteen .40 caliber shell casings were located nearby, as was a large, black garbage bag filled with clothing, sneakers and boots that matched the style of the victim’s clothing.   HTF detectives canvassed various locations in Trenton and secured video surveillance footage from around the time of the murder.  A review of the footage showed two unknown individuals in the approximate area just prior to the shooting and running away from the scene.  A silver 2007 Mercury Montego was also identified canvasing the area of Cuyler Avenue and Cunningham Alley near where the murder occurred.  That vehicle came back registered to Isaiah Porter.  Through the review of additional video and witness interviews, detectives were able to identify the three suspects.

The murder remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call HTF Detective John Menafra at (609) 989-6406.  Information can also be emailed to mchtftips@mercercounty.org.

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.



Related MidJersey.news stories:

UPDATE: Three Men Arrested in Murder of Kaheem Carter

MidJersey.news breaking news story here (posted at 2:33 am): BREAKING: Male Found Shot Dead Near Post Office On Hamilton Ave.

UPDATE: Shooting Homicide in Trenton Under Investigation




Governor Murphy Visits Trenton’s “Real Time Crime Center”

May 4, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–This afternoon, Governor Phil Murphy toured the new “Real Time Crime Center” that’s a partnership between Trenton Police Department and the New Jersey State Police.

There has been much talk over the past year from politicians claiming the center will help reduce Trenton’s crime and homicide problem with gun shot detection and hotspot surveillance.

In a June 5, 2020 City of Trenton Press Release   $4.5 million was used to establish a real-time crime, technology and intelligence center, a partnership between the Trenton Police Department and the New Jersey State Police to assist the Trenton PD in executing its public-safety strategy, including gunfire detection, video surveillance, and crime-intelligence gathering.



East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov Recognized Ronald Balint During National Volunteer Week

May 4, 2021

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Janice S. Mironov proclaimed National Volunteer Week and recognized longtime East Windsor resident Ronald Balint, Chairperson of the Township Environmental Commission and Chairperson of the East Windsor Green Team for his outstanding service and accomplishments.  Mayor Mironov noted, “Each year in East Windsor Township we observe National Volunteer Week as we are very blessed to have a great number of citizens who volunteer their time, skills and talents to participate in our government, and during this time we recognize an individual or group who embodies the spirit of volunteerism and have particularly contributed to the programs and activities in the Township.”

Mayor Mironov recognized Ronald Balint and his numerous contributions to the Township, as a volunteer Member since 2000 and Chairperson of the Environmental Commission and as Chairperson the East Windsor Green Team, since 2011.  Mayor Mironov’s Proclamation states, “as Chairperson of the Environmental Commission, Ronald Balint has been a dedicated and valuable caring leader for the local environment, and has contributed to numerous Township initiatives and events, including initiating and executing the Etra Park Arboretum project, organizing and carrying out the annual Arbor Day Tree Tubeling Giveaway, and maintaining the Township Community Forestry Management Plan.  Ronald Balint, as Chairperson of the Green Team, conscientiously and actively oversees and coordinates all application details of the Township Sustainable Jersey action items and certification submissions, and as a result of his effective organizational skills and tireless efforts, East Windsor earned Bronze Level Certification in 2012, and Silver Level Certification in 2015 and 2018, and in the process of finalizing the 2021 filing to renew the Township Silver Level Certification — a prestigious achievement that reflects Ronald’s hard work, dependability, resourcefulness, and commitment to sustainability.”

Mayor Mironov stated, “Ronald Balint truly is an exceptional asset to East Windsor and our entire community due to his tenacity, tireless work ethic, and unwavering commitment to the enviromment.  He is highly regarded by Township elected officials and staff as an outstanding and dedicated volunteer, and we are extremely thankful to Ronald for all of the time and energy he has selflessly dedicated to East Windsor.” 

Council Member John Zoller, who serves as Council liaison to the Environmental Commission, also thanked Ron Balint for his extraordinary efforts, stating, “Ron has always done a good job moving the Township forward toward achieving our goals, and it is our honor to recognize him.”

Roof Fire In Millstone Quickly Extinguished

May 4, 2021

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Around 2:47 p.m. the Millstone Township Fire Department was dispatched to 500 Route 33 West Bound for a roof fire with initial reports of workers trapped on the roof. Additional mutual aid was requested from Monroe Township, Manalapan, Freehold Township #1, and Englishtown. Hightstown Fire Company was requested as a RIT team. Upon arrival firefighters found a fire on the roof and workers trying to extinguish the fire using garden hoses and fire extinguishers, no workers were trapped on the roof. The building was laddered and the fire was extinguished.

It appears the fire started when workers set the roof on fire using propane torches on a roof replacement project. The Millstone Township Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire. The Millstone Township Construction Office was also notified and will respond. There were reports of workers working without a fire or construction permit for a torch-down roof repair-replacement.

No additional information is available at this time.

Gov. Murphy Promotes: “Summer 2021, It’s Just A Shot Away!” Vaccination Event At D’Jais Belmar, Those 21+ Summer 2021 VIP Card

May 4, 2021

BELMAR, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Yesterday Governor Phil Murphy promoted “Shot and a Beer” program where people in NJ who show their vaccination card showing their first vaccination in May would be eligible for a free beer at participating breweries. Today Governor Phil Murphy is promoting D’Jais Belmar “Summer 2021, It’s Just A Shot Away!” event on May 12, 2021 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Attendees who are 21+ and getting vaccinated a D’Jais Belmar are also eligible for a free Sumer 2021 D’Jais VIP Card. The event is held in partnership with Ocean Health Initiatives, Inc. (OHI) and you can preregister at the link below:

Pre-register: my-ohi.org/djais#OperationJerseySummer

Governor Phil Murphy:

Sign up for the May 12th vaccination clinic at the legendary D’Jais Belmar, operated in partnership with OHI – Ocean Health Initiatives, Inc., for a free Summer 2021 D’Jais VIP Card (for those 21+)! 🍻Pre-register: my-ohi.org/djais#OperationJerseySummer


https://www.facebook.com/events/1261950374244036/

Summer 2021 It’s Just a Shot away!
Pfizer Vaccination Event
Wednesday May 12, 2021
9am-3pm
1801 Ocean Ave, Belmar, NJ 07719To Pre-Register visit my-ohi.org/djais All attendees 21+ will receive a Summer 2021 D’Jais VIP Card. More Giveaways TBA Walk Ups are also available.
First Come First Served.
ALL New Jerseyans age 16+ are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine


From D’Jais Official YouTube Channel of summer’s past pre-pandemic




From D’Jais Official YouTube Channel of summer’s past, pre-pandemic

Governor Murphy Nominates Colonel Dr. Lisa Hou as Adjutant General and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

May 4, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Yesterday, Governor Phil Murphy announced his nomination of Colonel Dr. Lisa Hou as Adjutant General and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA). Colonel Hou, who has served in the position since October 2020 in an interim capacity, will be the first Asian American and first female Adjutant General in the state’s history.

“Colonel Hou took the reins of the New Jersey National Guard and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in the midst of this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “Since day one, she has demonstrated that she is the right person for the job, from overseeing the deployment of our National Guard to our vaccination sites, to taking immediate action to keep our veterans safe, to sending National Guard members to our nation’s capital to defend our democracy. I know that Colonel Hou will bring the same dedication to this job as she has exhibited throughout her entire career, including her tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“I am grateful to Governor Murphy for selecting me to head this department which has proven vital to the citizens of New Jersey during this pandemic,” said Acting Adjutant General and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Colonel Dr. Lisa Hou. “With 25 plus years wearing an Army uniform and nearly the same amount of time as a doctor, it feels like I have been training for this job for decades. As a physician and veteran, I’m determined to make New Jersey a better place for veterans, servicemembers, and their families.”

Prior to her current role, Colonel Hou served as the Deputy Adjutant General and Assistant Commissioner for Operations at DMAVA. In that role, she was the principal advisor for military readiness, mobilizations, homeland security, defense support to civil authorities, human resources, logistics, training, and financial management to the Adjutant General. In the New Jersey National Guard, Colonel Hou served as the first Joint Surgeon, coordinating medical efforts with partner agencies during domestic operations, such as the pandemic.

Previously, Dr. Hou served in the dual roles of commander of the Medical Command and the State Surgeon. In those capacities, she was responsible for the medical and dental readiness of more than 6,000 soldiers. Since 2013, Dr. Hou has also served as the Region II representative for the National Guard Bureau (NGB) Medical Advisory Group and, from 2018 to 2020, she served as the Chair of the Army National Guard Credentials Certification and Privileging Preparation Board. In August 2020, she became the Chair of the Army National Guard Medical Advisory Group.

In 2011, Dr. Hou served in Afghanistan as the Field Surgeon for Charlie Company, 700th Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. She was the sole medical provider on an Afghanistan National Army base and was responsible for providing routine and advanced emergency medical care in the combat theater to more than 600 coalition soldiers, contractors, and foreign nationals.

From 2005 to 2006, she served in Iraq as the Senior Field Surgeon for Echo Company, 50th Main Support Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division, where she performed routine and advanced emergency medical care for coalition soldiers and Iraqi civilians and maintained medical readiness for mass casualty trauma.

Dr. Hou joined the New Jersey National Guard in 1994 while a medical student at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, NJ. She received her doctoral degree in Osteopathic Medicine in 1996.

She also earned a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College in 2019. She is currently enrolled in a Masters of Business Administration program at Rutgers School of Business – Camden.


Toms River Man Charged With Terroristic Threats

May 4, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on May 3, 2021, David Giordano, 36, of Toms River, was charged with Terroristic Threats in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3a, and False Public Alarm in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-3c. These charges are typically crimes of the third degree, but have been elevated to crimes of the second degree because they were committed during a declared State of Emergency.

“On April 12, 2021, three videos were uploaded to a public YouTube Channel entitled ‘Toms River Police are the Best.’ These videos included images of Giordano, news coverage Giordano’s previous arrest in connection with painting a blue line on Hooper Avenue, images of the Ocean County Justice Complex as well as Toms River Township Town Hall – followed by a video of a homemade bulldozer destroying public buildings in Granby, Colorado in 2004. The videos also included graphics stating the person posting the video would turn Toms River Township Town Hall and the Ocean County Justice Complex “upside down.” An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit determined that Giordano produced and posted the videos to the YouTube Channel,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

On May 3, 2021, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Berkeley Township Police Department executed court-authorized search warrants on two residences – one in Toms River and the other in Berkeley Township – where Giordano is known to reside. As a result, Detectives recovered and seized several items containing digital evidence. A motor vehicle stop was subsequently performed by Toms River Township Police Officers on a vehicle operated by Giordano. Giordano was arrested and taken into custody without incident. Giordano was transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Berkeley Township Police Department, for their cooperative efforts in connection with this investigation and subsequent arrest of Giordano.

The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Seaside Heights Man Charged With Murder

May 4, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on May 1, 2021, Gerardo Ruiz, 50, of Seaside Heights, was charged with Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), relative to the death of Alecia Perreault, age 29, of Seaside Heights, that occurred in the early morning hours of May 1, 2021, in Seaside Heights.

On May 1, 2021, at approximately 7:30 a.m., Seaside Heights Police received a telephone call from an individual claiming to have knowledge that Ruiz killed a female at the Offshore Motel in Seaside Heights. The caller further advised that Ruiz was staying at the Surfside Motel in Seaside Heights. Officers responded to a room at the Offshore Motel, where they located the body of Ms. Perreault with apparent wounds to her neck; Ms. Perreault was pronounced deceased at the scene. Officers subsequently responded to Ruiz’s room at the Surfside Motel, and discovered that he had experienced an apparent drug overdose. Ruiz is currently in the protective custody of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office at a medical facility. Ruiz is currently listed in serious but stable condition.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and Seaside Heights Police Department Detective Bureau determined that Ruiz is the individual responsible for Ms. Perreault’s death. “The Ocean County Medical Examiner has preliminarily determined this to be a homicide but the cause and manner are currently pending further testing,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vitim Witness Advocacy Unit, Seaside Heights Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their cooperative assistance in connection with this investigation.

The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Woman Missing Since Saturday Found Deep In The Woods At Thompson Park

May 3, 2021

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On May 3, 2021 at approximately 3:51 p.m., Monroe Township Police received a call from Emma Bodmer who was hiking the trails in Thompson Park. Ms. Bodmer advised that while hiking she came across a woman who appeared to be in distress deep into the woods. That is when Ms. Bodmer called the police and ran out of the woods to meet the responding police units. Once with the police Ms. Bodmer escorted the police units to the distressed female. Once at the area of the distressed female officers on scene were able to see that the female was Evelyn Zavala who was reported missing Saturday night after she was last seen in the area of the 7-11 in Jamesburg. Ms. Zavala was suffering injuries to her feet and was carried out of the woods by Monroe Police and Monroe Fire. The Monroe Police Department would like to thank Ms. Bodmer for her actions today and we would like to thank the Monroe Fire Department and the Monroe First Aid squad for their assistance.

TPD Arrests Trenton Man with a Handgun After He Accidentally Shoots Himself

May 3, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

TRENTON (MERCER)– Trenton Police Director Sheilah A. Coley today announced the arrest of a Trenton man who fled from police officers and accidentally shot himself in the leg.

Gabriel M. Tabor, 30, of Trenton, was arrested in the early morning hours of April 29, 2021. Trenton Police officers responded to the area of Perry Street and Montgomery Street after receiving reports of a person pointing a gun at others.

When Officers Austin Fountain and Rudy Lopez arrived on scene, they observed a small crowd. Tabor began to run when he noticed police officers pulling up. As Tabor was running, the officers heard a gunshot and realized it came from Tabor. The officers chased Tabor and quickly apprehended him.

Officers Fountain and Lopez provided first aid to Tabor until an ambulance arrived and took him to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he was treated for a single gunshot wound to his leg. The officers also recovered the revolver that Tabor was carrying.

Tabor was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon (handgun), obstructing the administration of law, and resisting arrest.

No other injuries were reported and the officers were unable to determine who, if anyone, was being targeted by Tabor.

These charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Hamilton Fire Department provides mutual aid in Morrisville, PA house fire

May 3, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

MORRISVILLE BOROUGH, PA (BUCKS)–A fire ripped through a home in Morrisville, PA on Monday, damaging a neighboring home, and cooking a vehicle. Hamilton Fire Department Truck Company 13 and Battalion Chief 10 were called in for mutual aid in knocking down the fire.

It occurred sometime around 12:00 pm in the 200 block of West Palmer Street. Fire crews arrived with a well involved house fire, which extended to a vehicle and a neighboring house. The fire also brought down electrical wires. The second alarm was quickly struck, sending additional crews from Morrisville and a company from Hamilton, NJ to the scene.

Sources tell MidJersey.news that the residents were not home at the time of the fire. Sources also say the house was occupied by one dog and three cats, who, unfortunately, did not make it out.

No one was injured in the fire. This incident remains under investigation.

UPDATE: Three Men Arrested in Murder of Kaheem Carter

May 3, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that an investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force has resulted in charges being filed against three Trenton men in the April 15, 2021 homicide of Kaheem Carter.

Isaiah Ellis, 19, Emmitt Littles, 24, and Isaiah Porter, 25, are each charged with murder, accomplice liability and weapons offenses.  All three men were arrested Monday morning by member of the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force.  Ellis and Littles were taken into custody in Trenton; Porter was located in Brooklyn, NY.  The prosecutor’s office will file motions to detain the men pending trial.

At approximately 1:50 a.m. on April 15, 2021, Trenton police were dispatched to the area of 1137 Hamilton Avenue on a report of shots fired.  Responding officers located the victim, later identified as 22-year-old Kaheem Carter, laying on the ground on Cunningham Alley near the intersection of South Walter Avenue.  Carter was unresponsive and suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.  He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Thirteen .40 caliber shell casings were located nearby, as was a large, black garbage bag filled with clothing, sneakers and boots that matched the style of the victim’s clothing.   HTF detectives canvassed various locations in Trenton and secured video surveillance footage from around the time of the murder.  A review of the footage showed two unknown individuals in the approximate area just prior to the shooting and running away from the scene.  A silver 2007 Mercury Montego was also identified canvasing the area of Cuyler Avenue and Cunningham Alley near where the murder occurred.  That vehicle came back registered to Isaiah Porter.  Through the review of additional video and witness interviews, detectives were able to identify the three suspects.

The murder remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call HTF Detective John Menafra at (609) 989-6406.  Information can also be emailed to mchtftips@mercercounty.org.

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.



Related MidJersey.news coverage here:

Trenton Man Arrested for Lying to Police in Connection to Homicide of Kaheem Carter

See this morning’s MidJersey.news breaking news story here (posted at 2:33 am): BREAKING: Male Found Shot Dead Near Post Office On Hamilton Ave.

UPDATE: Shooting Homicide in Trenton Under Investigation



Names of 2021* homicide victims:

  1. 2/18/2021 Jabree Saunders, 26, from shooting on May 14, 2018
  2. 2/22/2021 Khalil Gibbs, 25, of West Windsor, shooting
  3. 2/25/2021 Lovelle Laramore, 60, of Trenton shooting
  4. 4/15/2021 Kaheem Carter, 22, of Trenton, shooting
  5. 4/20/2021 Shaquan McNeil, 25, of Trenton, shooting
  6. 4/24/2021 Cheryl Jones, 65, of Trenton, shooting
  7. 4/29/2021 Ramire Harvey, 25, of Trenton, shooting

*Updated to reflect the person who died in 2021 from the May 14, 2018 shooting.


“Shot And A Beer” Program, Get Vaccinated, Receive A Free Beer At Participating Breweries

May 3, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–“Shot and a Beer” program to encourage eligible New Jerseyans ages 21+ to get vaccinated.

According to the State of New Jersey and Governor Phil Murphy: Any New Jerseyan who gets their first vaccine dose in the month of May and takes their vaccination card to a participating brewery will receive a free beer.


Governor Murphy Announces Additional Easing of Restrictions

Changes Include Removal of All Percentage Capacity Limits for Indoor and Outdoor Businesses, Lifting of Prohibition on Indoor Bar Seating, and Removal of Outdoor Gathering Limit

Changes Effective in Two Phases  On Friday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 19

May 3, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–With COVID-19 numbers trending decisively in the right direction and New Jersey progressing toward its adult-age vaccination goals, Governor Murphy today announced an additional easing of restrictions, including a removal of all percentage capacity limits for indoor and outdoor businesses, a lifting of the prohibition on indoor bar seating, and an end to the outdoor gathering limit. As detailed below, some changes will take effect on Friday, May 7, with others taking effect on Wednesday, May 19, in coordination with both New York and Connecticut.

“With our COVID-19 numbers, particularly hospitalizations, trending decisively in the right direction and our vaccination goals within reach, now is the time to take major steps to reopen our economy and loosen both indoor and outdoor gathering and capacity restrictions,” said Governor Murphy. “We’ve done this the right way, in partnership with our neighboring states of New York and Connecticut, and by allowing data, science, and public health to guide our decision-making. Over these next few weeks, I encourage all remaining eligible New Jerseyans to get vaccinated so we can continue fighting back against this virus and move toward a ‘new normal’ for ourselves, our neighbors, and our loved ones.”

“With COVID-19 cases on the decline, more than 7 million vaccines administered and the good weather allowing more outdoor activities, we are able to take these steps to reopen the state,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “But, we can’t let our guard down now. Please get vaccinated if you haven’t already, practice physical distancing and wear a mask when in large crowds.’’

Today, Governor Murphy will sign an executive order that makes the following changes effective Friday, May 7 (some of which were previously scheduled to take effect on Monday, May 10):

  • Outdoor gatherings limit – The limit will increase to 500 persons, up from 200.
  • Large venue outdoor capacity – The maximum capacity allowed will increase to 50% for venues with 1,000 fixed seats or more, as long as six feet of distance is maintained, up from 30% capacity for venues with a 2,500 fixed seating capacity.  
  • Increase in maximum capacity for certain indoor activities – Currently, indoor catered events are limited to 35% of the capacity of the room in which they are held, up to 150 persons. The capacity limit for those events, including proms, will be raised to 50%, up to a maximum of 250 individuals. The  capacity limit for indoor political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services, and performances will also increase accordingly.
  • Dance floors at private catered events – Dance floors would be permitted to open at such events, with masking and social distancing requirements in place. Dance floors would remain closed at bars and other related businesses, such as nightclubs.
  • Permit carnivals and fairs to operate at the amusement business capacity – Currently, these events may be treated like a gathering, and thus subject to more restrictive limits. Carnivals and fairs may now operate at the same capacity as large outdoor amusements.
  • Bar seating – The prohibition on indoor bar seating will be lifted, with final guidance on necessary safeguards, such as spacing and the use of plexiglass, to follow from the New Jersey Department of Health.
  • Buffets – The restriction on self-service food, like buffets, at restaurants, would be lifted, but individuals will still be required to remain seated while eating and drinking.

Additionally, barring an unexpected uptick in COVID-19 numbers, the following changes will go into effect on Wednesday, May 19, largely in line with actions taking place in the neighboring states of New York and Connecticut:

  • Complete removal of outdoor gathering limit – Attendees at outdoor gatherings will still be required to remain six feet apart from other groups. 
  • Indoor gathering limit – The general indoor gathering limit will be raised to 50 persons, up from 25 persons. The limit applies to general social gatherings, such as birthday parties and events in people’s homes. Commercial gatherings and gatherings organized and operated by an overseeing entity (e.g. conferences, expositions, meetings of fraternal organizations, job trainings, events hosted by senior centers) will be subject to the 250-person indoor gathering limit that applies to indoor catered events, as long as all attendees can remain six feet apart.
  • Complete removal of all percentage capacity limits for indoor and outdoor businesses, and houses of worship – Any business, whether indoors or outdoors, that is subject to a percentage capacity limitation will instead be guided by the rule regarding six feet of distance between persons or groups of persons.  This would include:
    • Indoor dining – Currently, indoor dining is limited to 50% capacity. This change will remove the 50% limitation but maintain the six feet of required distance between tables, except that tables will still be permitted to be closer than six feet where restaurants use partitions that comply with DOH requirements. Additionally, the prohibition on tables of more than 8 persons will be lifted. As a reminder, outdoor dining has never been bound to a capacity percentage. 
    • Houses of worship and religious services, which are currently at 50% capacity. Retail businesses, which are currently at 50% capacity.
    • Gyms, which are currently at 50% capacity.
    • Personal care services, which are currently at 50% capacity.
    • Indoor and outdoor amusement and recreation businesses, which are both currently limited to 50% capacity.
    • Indoor and outdoor pools, which are both currently limited to 50% capacity.
    • Indoor catered events, funerals, memorial services, performances, and political activities – Per today’s Executive Order, these events will be limited to 50% of a room’s capacity, up to 250 individuals.  Beginning on Wednesday, May 19, the 250-person limit will remain in place, but there will be no percentage-based capacity restrictions. Individuals and groups will need to remain six feet apart. 
  • Indoor large venue capacity – The capacity limit for indoor large venues will increase from 20% to 30% and the definition of a large venue would shift from those with 2,500 fixed seats to those with 1,000 fixed seats. The requirement that individuals or groups of individuals that purchase tickets together remain six feet apart would remain in place.

For the full text of Executive Order No. 238, click here.