A massive house party in southern New Jersey ended in gunfire very late Saturday night that left at least two people dead and a dozen injured, CBS Philly reports. New Jersey State Police said about 100 to 200 people scattered after shots were fired at the party in Fairfield Township at around 11:50 p.m.
It was said to have been a ’90s-themed birthday party.
Police say a 30-year-old man and 25-year-old woman were killed in the shooting.
At least one of the wounded was reported in critical condition.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued a statement Sunday urging anyone with information to step forward.
CBS Philly was near the scene Sunday morning, where police were fixated on an SUV parked at a cemetery across the street from the house. The vehicle has since been towed from the scene. It wasn’t clear late Sunday if the vehicle was involved in the shooting.
The number of shooters and motive remain under investigation. No arrests had been made as of late Sunday night.
Debris could be seen scattered around the property on Sunday.
Family members and attendees say the party for the nephew of the homeowner turned into a shooting gallery.
“It was carnage everywhere,” John Fuqua, whose nephew was at the party, told CBS Philly. “They said the fire was coming from the woods, then when they went to run to their cars, they felt like it was coming that way. This was something set up like they trapped them in that yard.”
Fuqua’s said it was like a scene from a third-world country.
“This isn’t the best of what we are; this is an example of a black cloud over us right now by a handful of bad apples, but we have to change that,” Fuqau said.
CBS Philly spoke to a mother and daughter who were at the party. The mother said they heard at least 30 shots and when they tried to escape the home, they had to step over people who had already been hit.
A minister of a church across the street from the party scene, who also lives across the street, described what he saw.
“I heard what I thought was fireworks. I said, ‘All right. Good. They’re going to end this party. I can get some rest.’ But then I listened more. It was in rapid succession so I came outside and we were just kind of watching the crowds. Just watching what they were doing and a lot of them were just hanging out so I thought the party was still going on,” Reverend Michael Keene said.
Melissa Helmbrecht, founder and CEO of the civic group Hope Loft, observed that, “Over the coming days we’ll have a lot of pieces to put back together. This isn’t the first time we’ve had a lot of violence in our community.”
She said she’s heartbroken for her community.
“We’re working so hard. That’s the saddest thing. We’re making so much progress. We’ve been working so hard to get things turned around. And — so this is definitely a setback,” Helmbrecht said.
The mayor of neighboring Bridgeton was on the scene Saturday night and said he’s never seen a police response like that ever before in his time being mayor or living in Cumberland County.