Category: New Brunswick

Rutgers University To Require COVID-19 Vaccinations For Fall 2021 Semester

March 25, 2021

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–In a statement earlier today Rutgers University stated that all students planning to attend the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated. See the statement below:

Members of the Rutgers Community:

We write to share news of our plans to welcome back all members of our community to our campuses this fall. The anticipated additional availability of the COVID-19 vaccine is enabling Rutgers to take steps to protect the health of our academic community and to move toward a full return to our pre-pandemic normal as a vibrant institution in Fall 2021.

President Biden recently announced that he is encouraging all states to open their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility requirements to include all adults and, further, that he expects that all adults could have access to at least one inoculation dose by the early summer. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recently issued helpful guidance for those individuals who have been fully vaccinated. These announcements have provided us with the opportunity to clarify what our path forward will entail as we plan for the Fall 2021 academic semester.

In support of Rutgers’ commitment to health and safety for all members of its community, the University will be updating its Immunization Requirements for Students to include the COVID-19 vaccine. This health policy update means that, with limited exceptions, all students planning to attend in the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated. In parallel, we continue to strongly urge all Rutgers faculty and staff to get immunized against COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination include prevention of serious illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus. Broad immunization is critical to help stop the current pandemic and to protect our University community. Benefits specific to the Rutgers community include:

  • An expedited return to pre-pandemic normal
  • Additional face-to-face course offerings and academic experiences
  • Opportunities for a wider range of events and activities offered at our campuses
  • Expanded dining and recreation options at Rutgers
  • Greater interpersonal collaboration among faculty, students, and researchers

Most important, a safer Rutgers community supports a safer New Jersey for our families, our friends, and our neighbors across the state.

The University has also been approved by the State to offer Rutgers clinics for on-campus administration of vaccines to faculty, staff, and students when vaccine supplies become available. However, we have not yet been given vaccine to administer. Thus, the University urges all members of its community currently eligible to receive a vaccine not to wait and to register with the State in order to get vaccinated as soon as possible, wherever you can, if you have not done so already.  

Proof of vaccination will be required for all students planning to attend this fall. Any vaccine authorized for use in the U.S. (currently Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson) is acceptable.  It is understood that some incoming students may be 17 years old, and may be only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

Students planning to attend the fall 2021 semester may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. Students enrolled in fully online degree programs (typically defined as having no access to on-campus facilities), as well as individuals participating in fully online or off-campus Continuing Education programs, will not need to provide proof of vaccination.

Should you have any questions about the vaccination program or Rutgers’ requirements, please see the FAQs at https://coronavirus.rutgers.edu/covid-19-vaccine/#forStudents. For general questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html and https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine.

From the onset of the pandemic, the safety of the broader Rutgers community has been our shared responsibility. This has never been more true. The importance of an effective vaccination program to make our community safer for all cannot be overstated.

Please look for additional information and instructions regarding Rutgers vaccine clinics and exemptions in the coming days from Brian Strom, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. Chancellors and their staffs will follow with additional information about fall planning as well.

We appreciate your patience, understanding, and commitment to health and safety during these challenging times, and we look forward to seeing you on campus this fall.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Holloway
President and University Professor    

Prabhas V. Moghe
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Distinguished Professor

Antonio M. Calcado
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer   


Somerset Man Charged in New Brunswick Double Homicide

February 6, 2021

Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that a Somerset man has been charged for his involvement in a shooting that left two dead and seven injured.

          Jeron Pitt, 19, of Somerset, was arrested and charged today with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, seven counts of first-degree attempted murder, one count of second-degree conspiracy to possess a firearm for an unlawful purpose, one count of second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, and one count of fourth-degree tampering with evidence. 

On September 13, 2020, at approximately 1:18 A.M., the New Brunswick Police responded to the area of 32 Delafield Street following multiple reports of gunfire.  Lionel Macauley, 28, of Somerset, and Anthony Robinson 23, of New Brunswick. were later pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. 

An investigation by Detective Erika DiMarcello of the New Brunswick Police Department as well as Sergeant Julissa Alvarado and  Sergeant David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office revealed Pitt and other individuals drove to a party on Delafield Street where they shot into a crowd of people, killing Macauley and Robinson. The car used in the shooting was later recovered. 

          At present, the shooting does not appear to be a random act.  The investigation has determined there is no affiliation with Rutgers University or its students. 

Pitt is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court. 

The investigation is active and is continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Detective DiMarcello at (732) 745-5200 or Sergeant Abromaitis at (732) 745-4436.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Pitt are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

New Brunswick Man Charged for Attempted Kidnapping

January 30, 2021

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that a City man has been charged with attempted kidnapping.

On January 29, 2021, Gary Prichard, 41, of New Brunswick was arrested and charged with fourth-degree possession of an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose and second-degree attempted kidnapping. 

Prichard was charged following an investigation by Detective Keith Walcott of the New Brunswick Police Department.  The investigation determined that, on Monday, January 25, 2021 at approximately 11:30 P.M., Prichard drove up to the victim as she was walking on Easton Avenue.  As Prichard approached the victim, he drew what appeared to be a handgun and demanded she get into his truck.  When the victim refused, Prichard fled the area.  Prichard was ultimately identified as the driver and owner of the truck, which was captured on camera as he fled the scene.  A starter pistol was also recovered from Prichard’s truck following the execution of a search warrant.  

Prichard is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court next week. 

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Walcott at (732) 745-5217.  As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Prichard are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Former Meter Reader for New Brunswick Water Department Sentenced to Five Years in State Prison for Reducing Bills in Return for Bribes

January 22, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a former meter reader for the New Brunswick Water Department has been sentenced to state prison for participating in a scheme with two other former water department employees to reduce the water and sewer bills of numerous customers in return for bribes.

Guillermo Quinones, 51, of Somerset, N.J., was sentenced yesterday, Jan. 21, to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch in Union County. He pleaded guilty on Feb. 14, 2020 to official misconduct. Quinones forfeited his job with the water department and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

Two other former employees of the New Brunswick Water Department who participated in the scheme with Quinones previously pleaded guilty to official misconduct. Joseph DeBonis, 58, of Toms River, N.J., a former senior account clerk, and William Ortiz, 59, of North Brunswick, N.J., a former meter reader, were each sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Kirsch on Oct. 4, 2019.

Deputy Attorney General Samantha Keleher represented the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability at the sentencing hearing for Quinones.  She prosecuted Quinones, DeBonis and Ortiz with former Deputy Attorney General Anthony Robinson, under the supervision of Corruption Bureau Chief Peter Lee and Counsel to the Director Anthony Picione. The defendants were charged in an investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).

“The prison sentences we have secured in this case reflect our resolve to investigate and aggressively prosecute public employees who unlawfully use their positions for personal gain,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We now have secured five-year prison sentences for three water department employees who corruptly profited at the expense of the City of New Brunswick and its residents. These prosecutions should deter other government employees who might consider betraying the trust placed in them by the public.”

“One of our primary missions in OPIA is to ensure that government employees who break the law and corruptly exploit their public positions are held accountable,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher.  “Quinones and the other two water department employees we sent to prison took bribes from dozens of customers in return for falsely and dramatically reducing water and sewer bills. Their criminal conduct cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

In addition to the three defendants employed by the water department, 11 residents were charged with allegedly paying cash to have their water and sewer bills reduced.  One resident pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful benefit to a public servant for official behavior and was sentenced to probation.  The other 10 were charged with theft by unlawful taking and admitted into the Pre-Trial Intervention program on the condition that they pay full restitution. 

Quinones, Ortiz and DeBonis illegally reduced water and sewer bills for roughly 50 different properties over a period of several years in return for bribes totaling approximately $20,000.  Quinones and Ortiz would solicit bribes from customers and then arrange for bill reductions through DeBonis, who had access as a senior account clerk to the city’s water and sewer database. After Quinones and Ortiz received bribes, they provided DeBonis with information about the customer’s properties, and DeBonis modified the customer’s water and sewer bills to dramatically reduce the charges.  Fees were reduced at times by as much as 90 percent. DeBonis took a share of the bribe payments in return for falsifying the bills.

Attorney General Grewal created the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability in September 2018 to combat corruption and strengthen public confidence in government institutions. In December 2019, the Attorney General issued a directive codifying OPIA and making it a permanent part of the Attorney General’s Office. That directive established the OPIA Corruption Bureau as the lead office within the Department of Law & Public Safety for the investigation and prosecution of state criminal violations involving corruption and abuse of public trust.

OPIA has a toll-free Tipline 1-844-OPIA-TIPS for the public to report corruption.  The AG’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption. Information is posted at: http://nj.gov/oag/corruption/reward.html.

Defense Attorney: David Oakley, Anderl & Oakley, PC, Princeton, N.J.

Edison Man Sentenced For New Brunswick Man’s Murder

January 14, 2021

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced an Edison man was sentenced today for the murder of a 23-year-old New Brunswick man who he fatally shot in the City.

Christopher “C-Dub” Thompson, 29, of Edison, was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas J. Buck, J.S.C. to thirty years in prison for the murder of Larenz O’Garro.  Thompson was sentenced to an additional eight years in prison for the attempted murder of another man.  This term is subject to the No Early Release Act, meaning he must serve 85% before being eligible for parole.  Thomson was also sentenced for his unlawful possession of a handgun, and the hindering of his own apprehension for fleeing to Georgia after the murder.  Those sentences are to run concurrent to the murder and attempted murder.  He was also convicted of possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.

Thompson was also separately sentenced to ten years in prison for being a certain person not to be in possession of a handgun due to a prior conviction with a five-year period of parole ineligibility.  In total, Thompson will have to serve forty-one years and eight months of his forty-eight-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.

At trial, Executive First Assistant Prosecutor Bina Desai and Assistant Prosecutor Deanna Himelson presented evidence and testimony establishing that, on October 26, 2018, Thompson fatally shot O’Garro shortly after an altercation involving the second victim and codefendant Eric “E-Z” Inman who was ultimately sentenced to three years in prison.

Thompson fled after the shooting, leading to an extensive search which included the coordinated efforts of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the New Brunswick Police Department.  On November 15, 2018, members of the U.S Marshals Service apprehended Thompson in Lithonia, Georgia.

Thompson and Inman were charged after an investigation by Detective Kenneth Abode of the New Brunswick Police Department and Sergeant David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.  Agent Jennifer Morelli and Victim Witness Counselor Marlene Valdez were also vital to the prosecution.

New Brunswick Man Charged With Vehicular Homicide In Monroe

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Michael J. Biennas of the Monroe Township Police Department announced that a New Brunswick man has been arrested and charged with the killing of another man who he fatally struck with a vehicle yesterday afternoon.

Leovigildo Comisario-Salazar, 32, of New Brunswick was arrested and charged with Vehicular Homicide and Driving While Intoxicated following an investigation by Officer Daniel Mosakowski of the Monroe Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.  The investigation determined that, at approximately 4:08 P.M., Comisario-Salazar was operating a commercial truck at 433 Schoolhouse Road when he struck and killed his coworker Pedro Lopez Lopez, 33, of New Brunswick.  Comisario-Salazar was charged with being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. 

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Mosakowski of the Monroe Police Department at (732) 521-0222 ext. 184 or Detective Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.

Professional Boards Revoke Licenses of Engineering Executive Involved in Criminal Pay-to-Play Scheme

Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Order

Board of Professional Planners Order

November 10, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that two professional boards have revoked the licenses of a former executive of the Birdsall Services Group (“Birdsall”) engineering firm after he was convicted for his role in a criminal scheme to funnel more than $1 million in corporate political contributions through the company’s employees in an effort to evade New Jersey’s campaign finance laws.
 

James Johnston, 58, of New Brunswick violated multiple rules and regulations governing both the practice of professional engineers and professional planners, when he made illegal corporate political contributions that were reimbursed by the company through disguised bonus payments.
 

After a hearing of testimony and evidence, the New Jersey State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, and the New Jersey State Board of Professional Planners (the “Boards”), independently found that Johnston’s criminal conviction relates adversely to the practice of professional engineering and planning. 
 

In final orders filed today, both Boards separately revoked Johnston’s licenses to practice as a professional engineer and a professional planner in New Jersey, and barred him from applying for any professional license in the State for a minimum period of five years. Additionally, Johnston was ordered to pay attorneys’ fees and investigation costs in the amount of $2,820.09 by each professional board, totaling the full cost assessment of $5,640.18.
 

Johnston previously was sentenced in June 2017 to 270 days in the county jail as a condition of a term of two years of probation.
 

“Individuals who abuse their professional credentials and the public trust in order to violate our campaign finance laws should be prepared to face severe consequences,” said Attorney General Grewal. ”Professional licensees involved in schemes to avoid our pay-to-play laws face not only jail time and monetary penalties, but also loss of the licenses they rely on to earn their livelihood.”
 

“Johnston’s conduct and subsequent criminal conviction signal a blatant disregard for the rules promulgated by the professional boards, and raise serious concerns about his professional judgment and fitness to practice,” said Acting Director Paul R. Rodríguez. “The resolution of this case should send a clear message to all licensed professionals who may be tempted to violate the public trust and confidence.”
 

Under the scheme, instead of Birdsall making corporate political contributions to campaigns and political organizations that would disqualify it from public contracts awarded by certain government agencies, shareholders and employees of the firm made personal political contributions of $300 or less, which are deemed unreportable.  Multiple personal checks were bundled together at Birdsall and sent to the appropriate campaign or political organization.  The shareholders and employees were then illegally reimbursed by Birdsall, directly or indirectly, through added bonus payments, and the firm falsely omitted the illegally reimbursed contributions in documents filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) and with government agencies that awarded the firm engineering services contracts.  The scheme continued for more than six years and involved more than $1 million in contributions.
 

Eight Birdsall executives and employees pleaded guilty to criminal charges, as did the company itself.
 

The revocations of Johnston’s licenses are effective November 16, 2020. Before then, Johnston must complete any projects on which he is working, or make arrangements for them to be completed by another professional engineer or professional planner. Johnston shall not take on any new clients or projects, and if there are any companies that rely upon his ability to practice, he must immediately provide them with the Board’s decision to revoke his licenses to practice as a professional engineering and a professional planner.
 

Under his criminal guilty plea, Johnston is debarred for 10 years from personally bidding on public contracts in New Jersey or holding an interest of 5 percent or more in any company that bids for such contracts.
 

Deputy Attorney General Daniel Evan Leef Hewitt of the Professional Boards Prosecution Section in the Division of Law represented the State in this matter.
 

The matter was investigated by the Enforcement Bureau within the Division of Consumer Affairs.    

*         *         *

The mission of the Division of Consumer Affairs, within the Department of Law and Public Safety, is to protect the public from fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and professional misconduct in the sale of goods and services in New Jersey through education, advocacy, regulation and enforcement. The Division pursues its mission through its 51 professional and occupational boards that oversee 720,000 licensees in the state, its Regulated Business section that oversees 60,000 NJ registered businesses, as well as through its Office of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Securities, Charities Registration section, Office of Weights and Measures, and Legalized Games of Chance section.

Governor Murphy Nominates Dr. Brian Bridges as Secretary of Higher Education

October 30, 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Governor Phil Murphy today announced his nomination of Dr. Brian Bridges as the next Secretary of Higher Education.

“Making college more affordable and accessible has been a hallmark of our mission to build a stronger and fairer New Jersey for all,” said Governor Murphy. “After conducting a nationwide search for a new Secretary of Higher Education, we’ve found just the right leader to build upon our progress. Dr. Brian Bridges has the vision and experience needed to put a college education within reach for more students, including continuing our highly successful Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) program. I know he’ll be a fierce advocate for our students and will work closely with both public and private college and university leaders to expand opportunity while promoting equity and access for all.”

“I would also like to thank Interim Secretary of Higher Education Diana Gonzalez for her capable leadership of the Office over the past few months,” continued Governor Murphy. “Diana has coordinated closely with our colleges and universities to navigate the challenges of the pandemic and will continue to serve the Administration as a critical member of our team.”

“I am humbled but invigorated by the confidence of Governor Murphy to serve as the next Secretary of Higher Education for the great state of New Jersey,” said incoming Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges. “I have a deep and abiding faith in the power of colleges and universities to not only provide life-changing educational experiences, but to also serve as economic engines and hubs of innovation and intellectual discovery. I look forward to working with leaders across the Garden State to develop and refine policies and practices that further improve student success, create efficiencies of scale, and strengthen the higher education enterprise.”

“Brian Bridges is a great choice to be New Jersey’s new Secretary of Education,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the United Negro College Fund. “Brian has led our research and institutional transformation work at UNCF, driving our strategy to ensure that our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) produce ever stronger results for the students they serve.  Brian is a passionate, committed, and relentless advocate for justice, equality, and equity in the academy.  All of us at UNCF will miss Brian, but we know that he will continue to champion the urgent cause of higher education access and affordability, and he will lead a new era of innovation and transformation for all of New Jersey’s colleges and universities and their students.”

“The challenges that confront higher education today are daunting, but the opportunities are unlimited.  I am excited by the nomination of Dr. Bridges, and look forward to a partnership with him that will seize on theopportunities before us and how, together, we can leverage New Jersey’s higher education resources to help make New Jersey fairer and stronger for everyone,” said Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway

“Brian is just the leader we need at this time. He is dedicated to advancing equity in education and I’m excited that he’s decided to join our team and continue the work we began on behalf of students across New Jersey,” said former New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Zakiya Smith-Ellis. “I am looking forward to working with him and am confident that he has the skills necessary to assume the mantle of setting statewide higher education policy.”

“It has been an honor serving New Jersey’s higher education community as Interim Secretary at a time when institutions, students and families face unprecedented challenges during this ever-evolving public health emergency,” said Interim Secretary Diana Gonzalez. “I look forward to working closely with Dr. Bridges to continue making progress on our State Plan for Higher Education goals, including addressing college affordability and access through the Community College Opportunity Grant, to ensure we take an equitable approach to emerging from this crisis stronger than ever.” 

Brian Bridges, Ph.D., currently serves as Vice President of Research and Member Engagement at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in Washington, DC, where he leads UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute (FDPRI) and the Institute for Capacity Building (ICB). He serves as the organization’s chief research officer, principal editor and contributor for FDPRI’s publications, as well as the manager of internal and external projects involving capacity building, evaluation and assessment. Dr. Bridges also leads the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative, a project funded by the Lilly Endowment, to improve job placement outcomes at HBCUs and PBIs.

Prior to joining UNCF, Dr. Bridges was Vice Provost for Diversity, Access, and Equity at Ohio University. Previously, he was Associate Director of the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity at the American Council on Education and has held various other roles, including Associate Director at the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). While at NSEE, he managed a million-dollar subcontract for the Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students project, a national initiative funded by Lumina Foundation to assist minority-serving institutions in their use of NSSE results for institutional improvement. He is a former Adjunct Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration at George Washington University. Throughout his career, Dr. Bridges has served on numerous panels and advisory committees on issues related to student engagement, HBCUs, learning environments at minority-serving institutions, and success factors for African American college students at predominantly white institutions.

Dr. Bridges earned his Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Higher Education Administration from Indiana University–Bloomington, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Carolina–Charlotte, and a Bachelor’s of Arts in English Language and Literature from Francis Marion University.

Dr. Bridges was born in Brooklyn, NY and reared in Beaufort, SC. He will begin his new role on November 16, 2020.


Brian Bridges, Ph.D.

Vice President, Research and Member Engagemen

Brian Bridges, Ph.D., is UNCF’s vice president of research and member engagement and leads UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute (FDPRI) and the Institute for Capacity Building (ICB). He serves as UNCF’s chief research officer, principal editor and contributor for FDPRI’s publications and the manager of internal and external projects involving capacity building, evaluation and assessment. Bridges also leads the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative, a project funded by the Lilly Endowment, to improve job placement outcomes at HBCUs and PBIs.

Prior to joining UNCF, Bridges was vice provost for diversity, access and equity at Ohio University. He was associate director of the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity at the American Council on Education and held various roles, including associate director, at the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). While at NSEE, he managed a million-dollar subcontract for the Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students project, a national initiative funded by Lumina Foundation to assist minority-serving institutions use of NSSE results for institutional improvement. In addition, he has served on numerous panels and advisory committees on issues related to HBCUs, learning environments at minority-serving institutions and success factors for African American college students at predominantly white institutions.

Bridges earned his doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University-Bloomington, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and a bachelor’s degree from Francis Marion University.

Pedestrian Struck And Killed In New Brunswick

October 30. 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that a pedestrian was killed the evening of October 28 after being struck by a vehicle.

The initial investigation conducted by Officer Peter Maroon of the New Brunswick Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined a man, who is yet to be identified, was fatally struck on Livingston Avenue in the vicinity of Welton Street.  The male was pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. 

The motorist remained on scene to cooperate with law enforcement.  The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Maroon of the New Brunswick Police Department at (732) 745-5005 or Detective Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.

East Windsor Man Charged in New Brunswick Shooting

Kyale Simonson, 32, of East Windsor was charged with two counts of first-degree Attempted Murder, one count of second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and one count of second-degree Possession of a Handgun without a Permit.

October 26, 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that an East Windsor man was arrested and charged in connection with a shooting that occurred on September 2, 2020.

Kyale Simonson, 32, of East Windsor was charged with two counts of first-degree Attempted Murder, one count of second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and one count of second-degree Possession of a Handgun without a Permit.

Simonson was charged following an investigation by Detective Brandt Gregus of the New Brunswick Police Department and Detective Sean Sullivan of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which identified Simonson as the gunman in a non-fatal shooting of two men near the intersection of Lee Avenue and Seaman Street. 

Simonson is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center pending a Detention Hearing in Superior Court.

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Gregus of the New Brunswick Police Department at (732) 745-5200, or Detective Sullivan of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4060.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Simonson are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Brick And New Brunswick Men Charged With Roles In Drug Trafficking Organization

October 17, 2020

NEWARK, NJ –Two alleged ranking members off the Bloods street gang have been charged with conspiring to distribute fentanyl and heroin in Newark, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Leonard Wade, a/k/a “Clap,” 49, of New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Ezra A. Strong, a/k/a “Doonka,” 30, of Brick, New Jersey, are charged in separate complaints with conspiracy to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl and more than 100 grams of heroin. Wade is also charged with possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

Wade appeared for an initial appearance by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer. Strong appeared for an initial appearance by videoconference on Oct. 14, 2020, before Judge Hammer. Both men are currently detained.

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

Law enforcement officials have seized 831 grams of suspected fentanyl and 612 grams of suspected heroin, as part of an investigation into a drug trafficking organization (DTO) operating in Monmouth and Middlesex counties, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.

The investigation has revealed that Wade, allegedly a ranking member of the Sex Money Murder (SMM) subset of the Bloods street gang, is a leader of the DTO. Strong, allegedly a ranking member of the Fruit Town Brims, also a subset of the Bloods street gang, distributes fentanyl and heroin on behalf of the DTO.

On Oct. 1, 2020, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant of Wade’s residence and recovered a 9mm caliber semi-automatic polymer “privately made” handgun, along with 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition and five rounds of .45 caliber ammunition.

The count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over 400 grams of fentanyl carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a $10 million fine. The ammunition offense carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Monmouth/Ocean HIDTA Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson, with the assistance of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Gang and Criminal Enterprise Unit, with the investigation leading to the arrests.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren E. Repole of the U.S. Attorney’s Office 4OCDETF/Narcotics Unit.

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

20-362 

Defense counsel:
Wade: Rahul Sharma Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark
Strong: Thomas Dunn Esq., Montvale, New Jersey

State Police and New Brunswick Police Department Shut Down Drug Mill

Troopers Seize Guns, Drugs, Fraudulent Credit Cards, and Cash

October 8, 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The New Jersey State Police have arrested Rikelvin Rodriguez-Reyes, 19, of New Brunswick N.J., for allegedly operating a narcotics processing mill out of a residence in New Brunswick that was allegedly producing heroin and cocaine.

During a two-month cooperative investigation with the New Brunswick Police Department, State Police detectives with the Gangs and Organized Crime Central Unit were able to determine that Rodriguez-Reyes was distributing drugs from a Sanford Street residence. On Monday, October 5, troopers from the State Police Gangs and Organized Crime Unit, T.E.A.M.S. Unit, K-9 Unit, and members of the New Brunswick Police Department executed search warrants at the Sanford Street residence and a residence in North Brunswick.

As a result of the searches, detectives seized a .380 caliber handgun, a .22 caliber handgun, hollow point ammunition, 60 grams of cocaine, 100 individual doses of heroin, 1 ounce of marijuana, 18 prescription legend drugs, 20 fraudulent credit cards with a reader/writer device, $3,821 cash, various distribution and packaging accessories, and tools consistent with a drug production facility. Rodriguez-Reyes was arrested at the North Brunswick residence without incident.

Rikelvin Rodriguez-Reyes was charged with maintaining and operating a CDS facility, possession and distribution of cocaine, possession and distribution of heroin, possession of marijuana, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a weapon during commission of a CDS offense, identity theft, possession and distribution of paraphernalia, and money laundering. He was lodged at the Middlesex County Jail pending a bail detention hearing.

This case is being prosecuted by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

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

Robbinsville Man Killed By Drunk Driver, Man From Edison Charged With Vehicular Homicide

October 2, 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that an individual has been arrested and charged with causing the death of another person in a crash that occurred on Route 1 South in New Brunswick on the night of October 1, 2020.

Arsalan Gul, 21, of Edison, was charged with one count of second-degree Vehicular Homicide, one count of third-degree Hindering Apprehension, and one count of Driving While Intoxicated.

On October 1, 2020 at approximately 11:30 P.M., New Brunswick Police officers responded to a motor vehicle crash involving three vehicles.  An investigation by Officer Peter Maroon of the New Brunswick Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that Gul, who was driving an Infiniti sedan, crashed into a Honda Civic causing it to strike a Lexus SUV in the adjacent lane. The driver of the Civic, Brian O’Donnell, 32, of Robbinsville, was pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. 

 Subsequently, it was determined Gul was operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol and a controlled dangerous substance.

Gul is currently being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center pending a Detention Hearing.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Maroon at (732) 745-5005, or Detective Berman at (732) 745-4328.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Gul are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

New Brunswick Fatal Hit And Run Under Investigation

October 1, 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that the police are investigating a fatal hit and run, which took place during the evening hours of September 30, 2020 in the area of Somerset Street and Millstone Road.

The victim, who was pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital last evening, has been identified as David Wojcik, 55, of Warren Township.

Officer Peter Maroon of the New Brunswick Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that at approximately 8:39 p.m., the victim was struck in the area of Somerset Street and Millstone Road by a sedan, which sustained front-end damage.  Following the collision, the vehicle fled the scene.

          The investigation is active and is continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Peter Maroon of the New Brunswick Police Department at (732) 745-5005, or Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745- 4328.

Victims Identified in New Brunswick Shooting, Total of 9 Shot Early Sunday Morning

2 Dead, Four victims remain hospitalized, three in stable condition and one in serious/critical condition. An additional victim in the shooting has come forward, bringing the total to nine victims.


See related MidJersey.news story here: 2 Dead 6 Injured In New Brunswick Shooting


NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that authorities have identified the two men who died in the shooting which took place yesterday in the City.

Lionel Macauley, 28, of Somerset, and Anthony Robinson 23, of  New Brunswick, have been identified as the two male victims who were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and died from the injuries they sustained in the shooting.

The Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office performed the autopsies today and determined the manner of death for both victims, Lionel Macauley and Anthony Robinson, to be homicide. The cause of death being a gunshot wound.

An additional victim in the shooting has come forward, bringing the total to nine victims.  During the shooting this victim received minor injuries which did not require hospitalization.

Four victims remain hospitalized, three in stable condition and one in serious/critical condition.

The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Erika DiMarcello of the New Brunswick Police Department at (732) 745-5200, or Detective Julissa Alvarado of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office  (732) 745-3848.

Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County, Inc.,  a non-profit organization that partners with law enforcement to enable the public to anonymously submit crime information and will pay a cash reward should it lead to an arrest.

Tip information may be provided anonymously by calling 1-800-939-9600 or submitted online at www.middlesextips.com.  Tips may also be sent by text messaging 274637 (CRIMES) with the keyword: “midtip” followed by the tip information.

2 Dead 6 Injured In New Brunswick Shooting


See related MidJersey.news story here: Victims Identified in New Brunswick shooting


September 13, 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that authorities are investigating a shooting which took place early this morning in the City.

Two victims have died, and six others were injured in the shooting.

 The New Brunswick Police responded to the area of 32 Delafield Street in New Brunswick at approximately 1:18 am this morning and found eight people suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. The victims were taken to various hospitals in the area. Two male victims were pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

          Thus far the investigation has determined that there is no affiliation with Rutgers University or its students.

The shooting is being investigated by the New Brunswick Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Erika DiMarcello of the New Brunswick Police Department at (732) 745-5200, or Detective Julissa Alvarado of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office  (732) 745-3848.

South Brunswick Police Seeking Public’s Assistance In Locating Missing Person – John Shapinski

UPDATE FOUND ON JUNE 23, 2020

June 22, 2020

NO LONGER MISSING FOUND JUNE 23, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The South Brunswick Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing person.

John Shapinski, 32 y.o., is homeless, but known to frequent New Brunswick, and uses bus stops along the Route 27 corridor. He was last heard from approximately a week ago. 

Shapinski is a white male, 6’ 04”, weighing 220 lbs., with brown hair and eyes. 

Anyone with information is asked to call South Brunswick Police at (732) 329-4646.

FDA Approves First At-Home Saliva Collection Test for Coronavirus

Emergency authorization granted to pioneering Rutgers lab and collaborators

May 8, 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK – Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biologics received an amended emergency use authorization from the FDA late Thursday for the first SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus test that will allow people to collect their own saliva at home and send to a lab for results.

The decision follows the FDA’s recent emergency approval to RUCDR Infinite Biologics for the first saliva-based test, which involves health care workers collecting saliva from individuals at testing sites.

The new at-home saliva self-collection assay, developed by RUCDR in partnership with Spectrum Solutions and Accurate Diagnostic Labs, allows for broader screening than through the standard method using nose and throat swabs at a healthcare facility or testing location that requires a physical interaction with a healthcare professional.

“The impact of this approval means that not only do we no longer have to put healthcare professionals at risk for infection by performing nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal collections, we can now preserve precious PPE for use in patient care instead of testing and can significantly increase the number of people collected each and every day in places other than a healthcare setting,” said Andrew Brooks, chief operating officer and director of technology development at RUCDR, who also is a professor in the School of Arts and Sciences Department of Genetics at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

“This will enable testing for people that do not have the means to get to a collection center and/or are at home because they are sick, quarantined, at increased risk for infection or simply concerned about exposing themselves by traveling to a collection site. This approach will have a significant impact on helping people in New Jersey and across the United States get back to work as we will be able to monitor large numbers of people in a variety of locations.”

AG Grewal and Colonel Callahan Issue Daily Update on Charges Filed Against Violators of Governor Murphy’s COVID-19 Executive Orders

April 15, 2020

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions against violators of Governor Murphy’s Emergency Orders related to COVID-19: 

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 86 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered five non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions yesterday, April 14.
  • Paterson Enforcement.  The Paterson Police Department charged 36 people with municipal ordinance violations for violating the COVID-19 related orders in enforcement actions on Monday, April 13.
  • Seaside Heights Enforcement.  The Seaside Heights Police Department issued seven summonses for violations of the emergency orders from April 12 through 14.
  • Darrell Rude, 33, of Blossvale, N.Y., was charged with robbery (2nd degree), burglary, (2nd degree), shoplifting (4th degree), criminal mischief (4th degree), throwing bodily fluids at an officer (4th degree), refusal to provide a biological sample (4th degree), refusal to be fingerprinted (disorderly persons offense), and violating the emergency orders. The Hoboken Police responded early this morning to a report of a burglary in progress at Daniel’s Liquor, where a man shattered a glass window to gain entry.  Police located Rude nearby with liquor bottles and cigarette cartons sticking out of his backpack.  While being processed, Rude allegedly purposely coughed at officers and said he had COVID-19. He allegedly was uncooperative and kept biting and ripping off face masks and spit shields placed on his face.
  • Christopher Ospina, 20, of Haledon, was charged yesterday, April 14, by the New Jersey State Police with eluding (2nd degree), obstruction (4th degree), disorderly conduct (creating a hazardous condition during a state of emergency) and violating the emergency orders.  A state trooper in a marked car was traveling on I-80 West in the Lodi area when he observed a BMW with tinted windows traveling at speeds in excess of 130 mph. The BMW exited I-80, and Ospina was seen by troopers standing alongside his vehicle at a gas station in Lodi. Once Ospina saw the troopers, he jumped back in the BMW and recklessly drove back on I-80 until troopers lost sight of the vehicle.  When Ospina turned himself in at Totowa State Police Station, he told troopers he possibly had COVID-19 symptoms before being taken to the Bergen County Jail.
  • Frank Castillo, 20, of Browns Mills, was charged on April 9 by the Pemberton Township Police with violating the emergency orders after he was stopped for a traffic violation.  Police had stopped Castillo twice before and had issued warnings when they learned he was picking up various people in the Pemberton area and driving them around for non-essential trips.
  • Davide Camilo-Chiolo, 21, and Luis Diaz-Dejsus, 21, both of Perth Amboy, were charged yesterday, April 14, with violating the emergency orders for participating in a parade and vehicle caravan through the business district of Perth Amboy.  The two defendants were in a group of pedestrians who were wearing masks, but who failed to maintain social distancing and who were obstructing traffic.  The defendants were charged after they failed to heed warnings to disperse.  There were 17 vehicles in the caravan, and the drivers were issued traffic tickets.
  • Eric Brown, 27, of Salem, was charged yesterday, April 14, by the New Jersey State Police with hindering apprehension or prosecution and violating the emergency orders, both disorderly persons offenses, after he was involved in a motor vehicle accident that led to a car fire.  He allegedly called 911 and falsely claimed to be a witness, rather than the driver of the vehicle.
  • Ahmad R. Harrison, 19, of New Brunswick, was charged yesterday, April 14, by the New Brunswick Police Department with violating the emergency orders.  The suspect had been given multiple warnings about being out in public without an essential purpose.
  • Patrick McFadden, 44, of Budd Lake, was charged yesterday, April 14, by the Mount Olive Police Department with violating a restraining order (4th degree),  trespassing (4th degree), and violation of the emergency orders.  Shortly after he was served with a restraining order and removed from the victim’s property, he took a car service back to the address and entered her home, in violation of the restraining order.  He said he was there to retrieve belongings.
  • Guillermo Bonifacio, 18, Gabriel Lopez, 19, and Jovanny Santos, 19, all of Passaic, were charged with violating the emergency orders after the Passaic Police found them walking along Broadway shortly after 3 a.m. without a legitimate purpose. 
  • Alshaquan Griffin, 23, Jose Haddock, 18, and a 17-year-old male, all of Elizabeth, were charged yesterday, April 14, with violating the emergency orders after the Elizabeth Police responded to a report of a disorderly group on Bond Street, and found the defendants together, failing to observe social distancing. The defendants had been warned before about their conduct.
  • Arnell Green, 19, of Newark, was charged early today by the Hillside Police with violating the emergency orders.  Police responded at about 4 a.m. to a report of suspicious persons near Bloy and Leo streets.  Three individuals ran away when police arrived.  Green was found hiding in some bushes.  He had been warned before about being out in violation of the emergency orders.

 “Our police officers are working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect us during this health crisis.  Regrettably, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the emergency orders— or what is more egregious, people using the virus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “Staying home and maintaining social distance isn’t just the best advice to stay healthy, it’s the law.  Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to keep our residents and officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file charges against violators.”    “Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.” Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses.  Police have charged a number of persons with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency for claiming to have COVID-19 and threatening to infect law enforcement officers or others by coughing, spitting, or otherwise exposing them.  That charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.