MAYS LANDING — Video released by the Atlantic County prosecutor Thursday shows people running for their lives as a man shoots onto the Boardwalk just hours after Atlantic City’s Fourth of July celebration ended.
“We need to identify these individuals,” Prosecutor Ted Housel said as he showed still photos of two men wanted for questioning in a shooting that wounded two Cumberland County men just before 1 a.m. Tuesday.
“This could happen anywhere,” Housel said at a news conference, flanked by Atlantic City Deputy Chief Ernest Jubilee and State Police Lt. Col. Tom Gilbert, commander of the Tourism District. “This appears to be a spontaneous thing unrelated to any organized criminal activity.”
A 22-year-old Bridgeton man was shot in the chest and a 17-year-old from Vineland was wounded in the left leg in the shooting that occurred just off the Boardwalk at Michigan Avenue. More than 150,000 people were believed to have celebrated the Fourth of July in the resort.
The incident comes as the one-year anniversary of Gov. Chris Christie’s July 21 announcement of the Tourism District approaches. But Housel said the incident does not mean the city is not reaching the goal of being “clean and safe.”
The video shows several males walking off the Boardwalk ramp, when they are cut off by another group that comes from across the street. A few seem to get ready to fight when a man in a black V-neck T-shirt walks toward the group, pushing around another man Housel described as “an associate.” He then lifts his right arm, and the crowd scatters, clearing the way for the camera to capture several shots being fired as he walks toward the Boardwalk.
Then, the gunman and others with him run toward Pacific Avenue. A gun was recovered in the bus terminal nearby, although Housel said he could not confirm it was the weapon used.
No shell casings were recovered. The bullets passed through the victims’ bodies and were not found, Housel said.
There appears to be a police officer at the scene, but Housel said his investigators told him the person seen in the video is a city ambassador, not an officer.
The video allowed investigators with the help of casino security to track the suspected shooter and a man with him to inside Bally’s Atlantic City, where an altercation between the two groups is believed to have started. Housel did not detail what the argument may have been about.
He showed still photos of the men, taken from casino surveillance cameras inside, calling them each a “person of interest.”
The man in the black T-shirt has braids and is “more than a witness,” Housel said, without calling him the shooter. The man called “an associate and possible witness” can be seen clearly and is wearing a white tank top.
“This represents a combination of technology and good old-fashioned police work,” Gilbert said after the news conference. “I anticipate it will lead to some productive results.”
“In other words,” Housel added, “someone will be arrested.”
Housel said he was not yet releasing the name of the Bridgeton man. Juvenile victims such as the Vineland teen usually are not identified.
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