COMMERCIAL TOWNSHIP — State Police continue to investigate the shooting death of a man in Port Norris on Saturday — one of two homicides in the township over the weekend.
While State Police said Sunday they have a suspect in the case, they said Monday that no arrests have been made.
“We are still working on that investigation,” Trooper Jeff Flynn said.
State Police said they arrived at the Main Street home of Benjamin Broughton on Saturday after reports of gunshots and found the 29-year-old lying in his front yard with a bullet wound to his left eye. Broughton was pronounced dead at Inspira Medical Center Vineland at 2:04 p.m.
Friends and relatives put up a memorial — including candles, signs and small stuffed animals — outside Broughton’s home in the center of the small town Monday.
One of Broughton’s brothers, Salmadine Johnson, of Millville, said the family is still shocked at what happened. Johnson said he is still not sure what prompted the shooting but linked it to a domestic dispute between Broughton, Broughton’s girlfriend, Sharee Goines, and Porschea Young, the mother of Broughton’s child.
State Police said this weekend that Goines and Young are involved in a custody battle and that they argued at Broughton’s home. Broughton was shot during the altercation, which also involved an unidentified man traveling with Young, they said.
“I don’t know why that had to happen,” Johnson said of the death of his brother, a sanitation worker with a Millville company.
Broughton’s killing was the second homicide this weekend in the township of slightly more than 5,700 residents.
Eugene Tabinowski, 85, of the 200 block of Spring Road in the township’s Laurel Lake section, died about 24 hours after he was stabbed in the head, neck and face at his residence Friday night, State Police said. Tabinowski died despite attempts by doctors at Cooper University Hospital in Camden to save his life.
State Police said they arrested 40-year-old Millville resident Michael Duberson, charging him Sunday with murder, aggravated assault and various weapons offenses. State Police said they sought Duberson after the wounded Tabinowski identified him as the assailant.
Duberson already has a criminal record. He was arrested twice on burglary charges in 2009, serving 345 days in the Cumberland County jail in Bridgeton, according to Superior Court records.
Tabinowski’s son, also named Eugene, was at the Spring Road house Monday. He looked through boxes in what proved to be a futile attempt to find a picture of his father.
The 57-year-old, who lives in Ricetown, Ky., said his father lived in the Laurel Lake house for about 35 years and was a widower and a retired weapons system analyst for the U.S. government.
He said his father hired Duberson to do small jobs around the house for about a year and a half. State Police said Duberson has admitted knowing Tabinowski and cutting Tabinowski’s grass for about four years.
The son said he knew of no problems between his father and Duberson. He said there was no indication of anything having been disturbed inside the house by Duberson.
“I really couldn’t tell you what happened,” he said.
However, he said he believes his father was asleep when Duberson came to the front door Friday night. He said his father was stabbed after answering the door.
Blood marks were still visible Monday on the door sill and a section of the pinkish carpet that abuts the door.
George Gallo, who has lived next door to the Tabinowski home for about two years, said Tabinowski was a “really nice man.”
“He’d give you the shirt off his back,” Gallo said.
Gallo said he did not see anything that happened Friday night but heard his dogs barking. He said that usually sends him outside to see what is happening, something that did not occur Friday.
“I should have gone out,” he said.
Tabinowski’s killing occurred on what residents called a quiet street in a neighborhood in which not much usually happens. They said it is hard to believe two people could be killed in the township in the span of a few days.
“You wouldn’t think that could happen here,” Gallo said. “We’re so far out from things here.”
However, the rural township has seen five disturbing deaths — including the ones for Broughton and Tabinowski — in less than two years.
In August 2012, State Police said 28-year-old Stacy Rector shot her husband, Scott Rector, 30, then killed their two dogs before shooting herself. Autopsies showed both died from single gunshot wounds to their heads in their home on the 7200 block of Samuel Drive in Laurel Lake.
And Raymond Pettit, 46, died after being found unconscious in his car on the 400 block of Aster Avenue in Laurel Lake on March 1. The incident is being treated as an unattended death, which means foul play may not be involved.
Township officials did not respond to requests by The Press of Atlantic City regarding the deaths.
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