An Atlantic City man charged with murder in the city’s 13th homicide this year was in court Monday, a day after James Jordan was gunned down as children played nearby.
Keshaun Earley, 26, was arrested at 11:30 p.m. Sunday in the Oak Crest Estates residential complex in Mays Landing, about 11 hours after Jordan was killed.
Jordan, 25, was walking with his pregnant aunt and another man when the shooting happened on the 1200 block of Absecon Boulevard, the victim’s aunt said.
“It wasn’t even meant for him,” Laura Purnell said. “Somebody was shooting at (the other man), and (Jordan) got pushed in front of him. That’s how he got shot.”
Authorities have not commented on that scenario.
Police found Jordan unresponsive on the 1300 block of Magellan Avenue with a single gunshot wound to an unspecified area of his body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has not said whether there are any other suspects in the case. When asked whether Earley was the shooter, acting county Prosecutor Jim McClain replied: “No comment.”
In court Monday, Earley told Superior Court Judge Michael Donio that he had received the charges against him and that he would “more than likely” hire a lawyer.
Courthouse records show Earley was represented by public defenders in previous cases — including guilty pleas to charges of robbery and drug offenses.
Earley’s first adult arrest was when he was 20, when he was arrested for unlawful taking in 2006, court records show.
Jordan, who was known as Tink, had been looking for a job and was thinking of moving out of the city to live with Purnell in New York, she said.
“He was trying to get himself together so he didn’t come empty-handed,” she said. “He was a good kid, good-hearted, loved everybody. Made everybody smile.”
She said he’d had his nickname since he was a baby, when he was born a day after Christmas: “We just called him Tinky.”
Several friends and family expressed condolences on his Facebook page, where he went by the name Na’eem Rasheed.
“That was just his name on Facebook,” Purnell said.
She said Jordan’s mother, her sister, is “having a hard time dealing with this. He was the closest person to her right now.”
Jordan’s killing is one of a number of daylight shootings that have caused increasing concern in the city. Last month, Sendrick Lindo, 25, was fatally shot on a stoop on N. South Carolina Avenue, not far from Sunday’s shooting. Both were in the area of the Carver Hall apartments, where there have been several shootings.
A baby was nearby at the time of that shooting and suffered an injury from a bullet that ricocheted off the stoop. Authorities have not provided details on what happened.
Weekly community walks through the troubled neighborhoods had been going on for weeks, beginning at 11:45 p.m. Fridays. This week, they will change to 6 p.m. Thursdays due to the violence happening at all hours, said Kaleem Shabazz of Masjid Muhammad.
They plan to stop at the spot where Jordan died.
The city is just one homicide from last year’s total of 14. Twelve people were killed in 2010, the same number as in 2009.
There have been arrests in seven of this year’s killings.
In addition to murder, Earley is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He is being held in the Atlantic County jail on $1 million bail.
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