VINELAND — A home invasion and a pair of shootings that have now resulted in a second death may have started with yet another confrontational event this past weekend, city officials said.

At least some of the four people who were shot were involved in a dispute at a private party that included some possible suspects, Mayor Ruben Bermudez said.

That dispute eventually spilled over to what police described as a home invasion at a residence at the C & D Gardens apartment complex in the 700 block of Humbert Street late Sunday evening, he said. The dispute continued, eventually involving shootings in the 800 block of East Montrose Street and the 500 block of East Park Avenue early Monday morning, he said.

“This was not a stranger-to-stranger incident,” Bermudez said. “These people knew each other.”

Bermudez would not comment further about the incident at the private party.

The investigation into the home invasions and two shootings continues, and authorities are trying to piece together what happened, said Lt. Matt Finley of the Police Department here. One of the possibilities is that the incidents were gang-related, he said.

“We are looking into that,” he said.

Police also have some suspects, but “nothing that we can bang out yet,” Finley said. Finding the appropriate suspects will allow authorities to follow what happened as the mayhem rolled through center city, he said.

“We are trying to see who did what,” he said. “Who was where.”

Finley said one suspect, whom he would not name, is considered to be armed and dangerous.

“There is somebody (at large) with a high-powered rifle,” he said.

Police said Jonathan Candelario, 21, died Monday at Inspira Medical Center Vineland while being treated for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Candelario was shot at the East Montrose Street property around 1 a.m. Monday.

Arthur Rease, 39, died at Cooper University Hospital in Camden shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday, Finley said. Arthur Rease had been shot in the back with a semi-automatic rifle around 2:30 a.m. Monday at his East Park Avenue residence, police said. He was airlifted to Cooper to be treated for his wounds.

Wounded were Arthur Rease’s brother, Willie Rease Jr., 41, and 31-year-old Sharrod Jones of Brotmanville in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County. Willie Rease Jr. suffered a gunshot wound to an ear at the East Montrose Street property. Jones was shot in a foot at the East Park Avenue residence.

Bermudez said Tuesday that the shocking series of events is something that cannot be repeated.

“No city wants this to happen,” he said.

Bermudez said he will meet with police and other appropriate parties to plan ways of preventing or limiting future violence. Part of that could involve making more wider use of the Police Department’s chaplains, he said.

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, is also calling for a citywide effort to combat violence.

“It is up to lawmakers, law enforcement officials and the community to work together to help each other,” said Fiocchi, a city resident. “Whether that involves providing information or reporting suspicious activity, people’s welfare and lives are at stake.

“The worst mistake is for people to think it can’t happen in their neighborhood,” he said.

Anyone with information about the three incidents can call Vineland Police Crime Stoppers at 856-691-0345, or the Vineland Police Department Criminal Division at 856-691-4111, ext. 4180, or the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit at 856-453-0486.

Authorities are offering a reward of as much as $1,000 per incident for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved with the three incidents.

Contact Thomas Barlas:

609-226-9197

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