Category: Mercer County

Six Robbinsville High School Seniors Named Semifinalists in 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program

September 14, 2023

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Six seniors at Robbinsville High School are among 16,000 semifinalists nationwide in the 69th -annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically-talented students now have an opportunity to compete for 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

The students from Robbinsville: Aidan Dinh, Nora Gray, Vedhanth V. Jayanthi, Asrith Katragadda, Arnav Ketineni and Pranav A. Ram.

“We are tremendously proud of the semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors,” said Robbinsville Schools Superintendent Brian Betze. “There were more than 1.3 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools who competed in this program. Our six seniors are among the highest-performing students in the country.”

The students, working with Robbinsville High School staff, submitted detailed scholarship applications with academic records, school and community activities, leadership initiatives, employment, and honors and awards. All six students have superb grades, strong recommendations from school staff, compelling essays and very high standardized test scores, Betze said.

The National Merit Scholarship Program, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955. Scholarships come from the program, as well as approximately 320 business organizations and higher education institutions.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2024 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July. The scholarship recipients will join nearly 375,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

East Windsor Township Municipal Budget Contains No Tax Increase For 11 Consecutive Years

September 14, 2023

EAST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Janice S. Mironov announced that, despite the unprecedented challenges and cost increases of the past few years, the adopted 2023 East Windsor Municipal Budget of $23,426,238 again contains NO TAX INCREASE. Thus, the East Windsor municipal tax rate component has not increased for eleven consecutive years, remaining at the rate of 43 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for the years 2013 through 2023. For the current average residential assessment of $259,455, the 2023 municipal tax is $1,123.

Although overall spending in 2023 has increased by almost $1 million over 2022, use of American Rescue Plan funds and sound Township fiscal planning enabling greater use of miscellaneous revenue accounts and fund balance, allow the 2023 budget to result in NO tax increase for East Windsor residents with NO reductions in services or employees. There were numerous challenges in the 2023 budget due to significant gaps in budged anticipated municipal revenues for several categories especially municipal court and major expenditure increases in the 2023 municipal budget for the dramatic state-imposed 22% hike in the State Health Benefits Plan, state pension payment costs, as well as significant increases in salaries and wages, contract increases and general inflationary costs factors.

Mayor Mironov stated, “This no tax increase budget is a fiscally conservative budget document which well serves our community and retains all employee positions and all existing service levels. East Windsor has worked hard to keep our spending levels tight and continually seek out additional efficiencies, cooperative purchasing avenues and service sharing opportunities, and has maintained a very low debt level. This positive budget no tax increase outcome results from the pro-active efforts of the Township to carefully plan and to closely monitor expenditures and revenues throughout the year and into future years.”

The Township tax base has increased by over $1.4 million for 2023, as East Windsor continues to be highly pro-active and successful in seeking to expand business opportunities and attract new commercial rateables. New business projects in 2022 and 2023 include Jersey Mike’s and Cinnaholic in Town Center Plaza, Primrose School of East Windsor on Dutch Neck Road in the former Rite-Aid building, Jim Carl’s Auto Body Repair on Route 130 North, AJ Madison’s newly constructed building, relocation of Vectornate USA’s global headquarters to Old Trenton Road, and the major modern Innovation Park complex.

Mayor Mironov thanked all of the Council Members, Manager and staff for their diligent efforts on the 2023 municipal budget.

Trenton Police Investigating “Swatting” Incident

September 12, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police reported that on September 11, 2023, members of the Trenton Board of Education received an email with possible threats of violence against schools. The threat was vague giving no specific school or target. The Trenton Police Department is working closely with local, county, state and federal authorities to investigate and assess the threat which appears to have originated out of state.

Although we believe this to be a nationwide “swatting” incident, the Trenton Police Department take any and all threats against our children and school community with the utmost concern and will exhaust all investigative resources to keep them safe.  — Trenton Police Director Steve Wilson

Robbinsville Holds 9/11 Wreath Laying Ceremony At Memorial Tree

September 11, 2023

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Professional Firefighters Association in coordination with the Robbinsville Township Fire Department conducted a wreath laying commemoration ceremony this morning, Monday, 9/11 at 10:00 a.m. The commemoration was held at the Memorial Tree on Lake Drive in Town Center, near the intersection of Hutchinson Road. The wreath laying honored the memory of Robbinsville resident Pamela Gaff and all who were lost on September 11, 2001. American flags were placed around the Memorial Tree by attendees at the conclusion of the ceremony as they reflected on the events of this tragic day.

Trenton Police Investigate Two Shot At Midnight On Frazier Street

September 10, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenon Police Detective Lieutenant Nathan Bolognini told that Trenton Police received a ShotSpotter activation at 23:59:38 for the area of 500 Prospect St, for 11-rounds fired. Police Officers arrived and located two male gunshot victims inside the 1st and 2nd floor hallways of 9 Frazier Street. Police stated both victims were shot multiple times. The victims were taken to Capital Health Regional and listed as “alert”.   The Shooting Response Team was notified and responded.  There is no suspect information available at this time. 

Trenton Man Charged Attempted Homicide, Robbery, Aggravated Assault And Weapons Offences In Hamilton Township

September 7, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Police reported that on Friday August 18, 2023, at approximately 9:02 p.m., Officers were dispatched to the area of South Olden Avenue and East Franklin Street on a report of shots fired. Upon arrival Officers located a victim who was shot several times on the 600 block of East Franklin Street. The suspect, who was described as a black male wearing all black, fled the scene towards South Olden Avenue. The victim, a 43-year-old male from Hamilton, was taken to Capital Health Fuld for treatment. His injuries were not life threatening, and he was treated and released. An investigation was conducted by Hamilton Police who obtained surveillance footage of the incident that showed the suspect ambush the victim shooting him several times including once at close range, and then robbing the victim of his money and cell phone. The suspect fled the area towards South Olden Avenue and was last seen walking down South Olden Avenue towards Trenton. Officers were able to recover evidential items and through video surveillance, identify the suspect as Michael Bagwell, 31, of Trenton. A warrant was signed against Bagwell and he was arrested in Trenton on Wednesday, September 6th by Hamilton

Police Detectives and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Unit.

Bagwell was charged with Attempted Homicide, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Possession of Weapon for Unlawful Purpose, and Possession of a High- Capacity Magazine. He was transported to the Mercer County Correctional Facility pending a detention hearing.

The Hamilton Police would like to thank the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Trenton Police Department, and New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Unit for their assistance in the investigation.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective James Rickey of the Hamilton Police Division Major Crimes Unit at (609) 689-5822 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at (609) 581-4008.

Michael Bagwell, 31, of Trenton. Bagwell was charged with Attempted Homicide, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Possession of Weapon for Unlawful Purpose, and Possession of a High- Capacity Magazine. He was transported to the Mercer County Correctional Facility pending a detention hearing.

Man Shot on Hoffman Ave. in Critical but Stable Condition

September 6, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenon Police Detective Lieutenant Nathan Bolognini told that around 10:44 p.m. last night, September 5, 2023, police responded to Oakland and Hoffman for a shooting. Police found a male shot in the head and body and was transported by EMS to the Trauma Center at Capitol Health Regional Medical Center for treatment. The scene extends from the side of 513 Hoffman Avenue to the parking lot. The victim is in critical but stable condition at the hospital. There was no ShotSpotter activation and Ewing Police were called mutual aid as backup due to a large crowd after the shooting. The SRT Shooting Response Team is investigating.

Trenton, NJ, Men Busted In Holmdel Township

September 5, 2023

HOLMDEL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The Holmdel Township Police Department reported that on September 3, 2023 around 5:30 p.m., police dispatchers received a call from loss prevention employees at Best Buy, 2130 State Hwy 35. Loss prevention employees reported that several individuals known to them as shoplifters from other Best Buy’s were around the store. Ptl. Sasso and Ptl. DePinho arrived on scene and located two subjects walking away from the store with employees following. The subjects were identified as Clifton Owens (age 43) and Jerome Christie (age 33), both of Trenton NJ.

Owens was arrested after he was found to be a wanted fugitive from Pennsylvania due to a forgery charge. He was lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending an extradition hearing.

Jerome Christie was arrested for an outstanding warrant issued by the Delran Municipal Court. He was processed and released as per the court.

Trenton Man Arrested In Hamilton Carjacking

September 5, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Police report that on Friday, September 1, 2023 at approximately 7:25 p.m.., Officers were detailed to the 400 block of East Franklin Street on a report of a Burglary to an Auto that just occurred by two suspects who were wearing black clothing. While enroute additional 9-1-1 calls to dispatch reported the suspects were possibly armed with handguns and had just stolen a vehicle. Upon arrival Officers found one of the suspects kneeling on the front lawn of a residence on the 500 block of East Franklin Street. He was identified by numerous witnesses that he was one of the suspects. They were chasing him when he pointed a gun at them and ran between houses. An unknown party had stopped the suspect and detained him until police arrived. Further investigation by Officers revealed the suspect had struck a victim in the head rendering him unconscious and stole his vehicle. The suspect was placed under arrest and identified as Alshawn Chavis, 18, of Trenton. Another witness had observed the suspect in the backyard of one of the residences and concealed a handgun in the grass. Officers located a metal and plastic Glock imitation firearm in the grass. The second suspect fled the scene and was not apprehended. The investigation is continuing.

Chavis was charged with Carjacking, Aggravated Assault, Burglary to Auto, Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, Weapons Charges, Theft, and Receiving Stolen Property. Chavis was transported to the Mercer County Correctional Facility pending a detention hearing.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Frank Palmieri of the Hamilton Police Division Major Crimes Unit at (609) 581-4041 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at (609) 581-4008.

Alshawn Chavis, 18, of Trenton. Chavis was charged with Carjacking, Aggravated Assault, Burglary to Auto, Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, Weapons Charges, Theft, and Receiving Stolen Property. Chavis was transported to the Mercer County Correctional Facility pending a detention hearing.

Shooting Victim Identified In Brunswick Avenue Homicide

September 2, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department are investigating a shooting homicide in Trenton.

A few minutes after midnight on Saturday, September 2, 2023, Trenton police responded to the 200 block of Brunswick Avenue on a report of a male shot.  Responding officers arrived on scene to discover an unresponsive male in a vacant lot appearing to suffer from a gunshot wound.  The victim was transported to Capital Heath Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.  The victim has been identified as Ronald Taylor, 40, of Trenton.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information is asked to contact MCHTF Detective Jennifer Eyster at (609) 989-6406 or Sgt. Roberto Reyes at (609) 256-0997.  Information can also be emailed to

Names of the 2023 Trenton Homicide Victims

  1. 1/16/2023 Donnell Williams, 29, Trenton, Shooting.
  2. 2/12/2023 Stephanie Vil, 34, of Burlington, Shooting.
  3. 2/16/2023 Khalil Glanton, 23, Trenton, Stabbing.
  4. 3/24/2023 Harold Rosario, 19, Trenton, Shooting.
  5. 3/26/2023 Nyeisha Saunders, 41, Trenton, Shooting.
  6. 4/09/2023 Jhosse Tolentino, 23, Trenton, Shooting
  7. 4/12/2023 Jared Anderson, Trenton, Shooting (died May 29)
  8. 4/14/2023 Daniel Garvin, 46, Trenton, Shooting
  9. 4/20/2023 Ralph Conquest, 43, of Lawrence, Shooting
  10. 5/14/2023 Roger Martinez-Rodriguez, 27, Trenton, Stabbing
  11. 5/14/2023 Justin Reed, 24, of Ewing, Shooting (died May 22)
  12. 5/26/2023 Sherief Treadwell, 36, Trenton, Shooting
  13. 6/09/2023 Markell Biggs, 20, Trenton, Shooting
  14. 6/11/2023 Shaquan Brown, 23, Trenton, Shooting
  15. 6/15/2023 James Junior Journigan, 36, Shooting
  16. 6/15/2023 Louis Washington, 38, Trenton, Shooting, (died June 17)
  17. 6/19/2023 Ernest Denard, 61, Stabbing
  18. 6/22/2023 Guillermo Sanchez, Shooting
  19. 7/01/2023 Precious Saunders, 32, of Trenton
  20. 8/23/2023 Taquan Foxworth, 29, of Trenton, Shooting 8/19
  21. 9/02/2023 Ronald Taylor, 40, of Trenton, Shooting

Multiple-Stabbing Reported On Chambers Street

September 2, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police reported that officers responded to the 600 Block of Chambers Street near Hamilton Ave. (across from St. Francis Medical Center) for a multiple stabbing around 1:30 a.m. Trenton Police found parties intoxicated and fighting on the porch. A total of three victims were found with non-life-threatening lacerations. Numerous broken bottles were also observed.  Police have no suspect information at this time.

Police Investigation In Hamilton

September 1, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 12:45 p.m. Hamilton Police, Hamilton Fire, RWJ EMS and Captial Health Paramedics all responded to a residence in the 200 Block of Park Lane for a shooting victim. The condition of the victim was unclear according to a neighbor. Hamilton Police were on scene investigating and there is no additional details available at this time.

Since there was no crime scene tape and regular mail delivery it could have been an accidental shooting.

Pennington, NJ Man Pleads Guilty To Obtain COVID-19 Test Sample Kickbacks

August 31, 2023

NEWARK, N.J. – A Mercer County, New Jersey, man admitted his role in a kickback conspiracy involving COVID-19 testing, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Tauqir Khan, 65, of Pennington, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute for his role in a scheme to obtain kickbacks for the referral of COVID-19 test samples.

“Clinical laboratories and health care professionals are on notice: paying kickbacks to steer tests to a lab may break the law,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said. “This office is committed to using all the tools at our disposal to keep illegal kickbacks out of our health care system and preserve the integrity of medical decision making.”

“There were many fraudsters who saw the global pandemic as a get rich quick gold mine. Khan and his conspirators were no different, soliciting kickbacks and wrongfully billing health care programs,” FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “It may take time, but FBI Newark and our law enforcement partners are bringing to justice those who stole money that wasn’t intended for their bank accounts.”

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

Khan and his conspirators solicited kickbacks in exchange for providing COVID-19 test samples to Metpath Laboratories, a clinical laboratory located in Parsippany, New Jersey, that conducted testing to detect the presence of COVID-19 in samples obtained from individual patients. Metpath paid kickbacks for the referrals of COVID-19 test samples and subsequently billed Medicare and other health care benefit programs for the tests.

The charge of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2024.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney DeNae M. Thomas of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.


Defense counsel: Michael J. Pappa Esq., Hazlet, New Jersey

Woman Charged After 3-Year-Old Boy Suffers Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound To Head

August 31, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Department, Det. Lt. Nathan B. Bolognini provided an update to the shooting incident on August 29, 2023, involving a 3-year-old child that suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Ms. Chante Odom of Philadelphia, PA was charged with:

Endangering the Welfare of a child

Unlawful Possession of a handgun and 

Unlawful Possession of dum-dum rounds.

The weapon was retrieved by the male child was from her personal property. It was not clear if it was a purse, satchel, etc. that contained the weapon. The woman is a family friend and has no relationship to child.  According to Detectives she did not have a permit to possess/carry the handgun in NJ or PA.   

August 29, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Department, Det. Lt. Nathan B. Bolognini told that 3-year-old male child suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The child is intubated and currently at Cooper medical center in the Pediatric ICU in Camden, NJ. A suspect has been identified for endangering the welfare of that child.  The scene is secured awaiting an execution of a search warrant.  Witnesses are currently being interviewed.  The shooting Response Team continuing the investigation.  

Photos by: Brian McCarthy

Lawrence Township Couple Indicted For Conspiring To Commit Immigration Fraud

August 30, 2023

NEWARK, N.J. – A Mercer County couple was indicted for conspiring to prepare and submit fraudulent asylum applications, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Zuwairul Ameer, aka “Zuwairul Thowfeek,” 61, and Claudette Ameer, aka “Claudette Pieries,” 63, both of Lawrence Township, New Jersey, were both indicted on Aug. 29, 2023, on one count of conspiring to commit immigration fraud and one count of committing immigration fraud.

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

Applicants for asylum in the United States must show that they have suffered persecution in their country of origin on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, or have a well-founded fear of persecution if they were to return to that country. The process requires an application that is reviewed by an asylum officer with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), who makes an initial determination whether to grant asylum. If the application has been prepared by someone other than the applicant, the preparer must disclose his or her name and address and must sign the application.

Since at least 2007, Zuwairul Ameer has been in the business of preparing fraudulent asylum application on behalf of his non-citizen clients. Claudette Ameer has managed that business, acting as the primary point of contact for clients, arranging meetings, and mailing completed applications to USCIS. With Claudette Ameer’s assistance, Zuwairul Ameer met with clients, listened to their stories of mistreatment in their countries of origin, and drafted applications on their behalf that were fraudulent because they exaggerated the stories of mistreatment, falsely omitted Zuwairul Ameer’s name as the preparer, or both.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI – New York Field Office, under the direction of Assistant Director in Charge James Smith and immigration officers with of the USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate at the New York Asylum Office, under the direction of Director Patricia Menges, with the investigation.

The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron L. Webman of the Criminal Division in Newark.


Defense counsel:
Zuwairul Ameer: Mark G. Davis Esq., Hamilton, New Jersey
Claudette Ameer: Michael R. Rosas Esq., East Brunswick, New Jersey