ATLANTIC CITY — A man was killed and a woman injured after they were carjacked at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort — the second fatal carjacking connected to the casino in 16 months.
Authorities on Sunday released casino surveillance photos of three men walking up a parking garage stairwell, saying they are being sought in the crime.
Sunil Rattu, 28, and Radha Ghetia, 24, both of Middlesex County, were accosted just before 8 a.m. Sunday while leaving the casino, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said Sunday. Housel did not say exactly where the robbery and carjacking took place.
“They were robbed and at that point they were carjacked and the female victim was forced to drive to the area where the shooting took place,” Housel said.
At 8:26 a.m. Sunday, police received 911 calls that there were shots fired in the Warren Webb Sr. Place alley, Housel said. Three men fled the scene.
Rattu, of Old Bridge, was killed by a gunshot to the upper portion of his body. Ghetia, of the Parlin section of Sayreville, was wounded and is expected to survive. Ghetia is in good condition.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said Mondat at a press conference that police are looking for a gray Saturn Ion with New jersey tags - UTN 66U - stolen from Haddonfield at the end of August.
Rattu’s shooting death marks Atlantic City’s 12th homicide for the year, which matches the total number of homicides in the city in 2009 and 2010.
Housel did not initially release the photos of the suspects during a press conference Sunday afternoon but shortly after called the media back to announce the photos would be released.
“There has been changes in the investigation to release the descriptions of these people of interest. For the most part these are pretty excellent still images,” Housel said.
Aurelia J. Lyons was walking her dog Sunday morning when a woman, covered in blood, came running toward her asking for help.
“She said call 911, so I ran into the house and called 911,” Lyons said as she and others watched investigators work Sunday on Webb Place.
Lyons lives adjacent to the alley, on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Ghetia, who was also shot in the upper portion of her body, was conscious when police arrived at the scene after she was assisted by a city firefighter who lives locally, Housel said. She was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus.
“She suffered a clean, through-and-through shot to the upper part of her body. We’re fairly confident she will survive,” Housel said.
Resident Henry Tyner, who lives adjacent to the alley where the shooting took place off Caspian Avenue, said he has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years and that it is normally a pretty peaceful place, until Sunday morning.
“I heard the shots and I called the police, but I didn’t step outside,” he said. “It just about makes me sick.”
About 2 p.m. Sunday, police had the alley between Caspian and Adriatic avenues blocked off. At the scene, investigators were gathered around a beige Land Rover with New Jersey plates. Police have said the shooting may have started as a carjacking.
City Councilman Mo Delgado sat on the front stoop of his mother-in-law’s home on MLK Boulevard on Sunday morning perplexed about the prevalence of violence in Atlantic City.
“I’m desperate, I’m discouraged, I’m concerned for all the residents placed under this fear,” Delgado said.
He said he knows the community is fearful of retaliation but residents need to start speaking up.
“And our public safety department has to do more to be attentive to the needs of Atlantic City residents. Our Police Department has done as much as they possibly can. I’m more so disappointed in the Prosecutor’s Office because they have given more attention to homicides in other communities,” he said.
Housel said the investigation is rapid and ongoing, involving many assets and agencies, including the FBI.
On May 21, 2010, Martin Caballero, 47, of Hudson County, was also abducted and carjacked from the Taj Mahal parking garage. Caballero, of North Bergen Township, dropped his family at the front door of the Taj Mahal and left to park his car in the garage.
Craig Arno, 45, of Atlantic City, and Jessica Kisby, 25, of Egg Harbor Township, are accused of carjacking and killing Caballero, whose vehicle was abandoned, set on fire, and found May 22, 2010, in the Blackwood section of Gloucester Township, Camden County. Authorities found Caballero’s body May 30, 2010, on a Hamilton Township farm.
Staff Writer Lynda Cohen contributed to this report.
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