Mercer County Grand Jury Returns Indictmentin the July Murder of Shaquil Loftin

September 29, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County grand jury returned a four-count indictment this week charging Daniel L. Smith with the July shooting death of Shaquil Loftin in Trenton, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

Smith, 37, of Trenton, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun and second-degree certain persons not to possess a firearm.  He is being held in the Mercer County Correction Center pending trial.

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department.  On Friday, July 30, 2021, at approximately 4:40 a.m., Trenton police responded to a report of a shooting at a residence in the first block of Kelsey Avenue.  Upon arrival, officers found the victim, identified as 23-year-old Loftin, shot in the face.  Loftin was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center and pronounced dead a short time later.

A search warrant was executed at the Kelsey Avenue residence.  Witnesses were interviewed and area surveillance footage was reviewed.  As a result, Smith was identified as the individual who shot and killed Loftin.

Detectives continue to investigate what prompted the attack.  The case remains under investigation for potential bias charges as Loftin is transgender and identified as female.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Dave Petelle at (609) 989-6406. Tips can also be emailed to

Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Heather Hadley presented the case to the grand jury.

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

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