BRIDGETON — The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office identified the person shot by city police Friday as Darryl L. Fuqua, 23.
Mayor Albert Kelly is calling for calm in the wake of the Ramblewood Drive resident’s death, as Fuqua is the second black man killed by city police in a little more than two years.
Kelly said he has contacted clergy and community leaders, asking them to work with residents to ensure the investigation proceeds without incident.
Kelly said he will again visit residents living around the 200 block of South Avenue, where the shooting occurred. Kelly said he already has visited those residents to ease their concerns.
“I want to make sure everyone stays calm,” he said.
Police Chief Michael Gaimari identified the officer who allegedly shot Fuqua only as a five-year veteran of the Police Department and who is assigned to the department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau. The officer is now on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, he said.
Gaimari said the officer was one of three officers taken to Inspira Health Center Bridgeton for observation and treatment of undisclosed injuries after the shooting. They were released late Friday night, he said.
At the scene Friday, two onlookers called police “murderers.” Some others in the all-black crowd were angry, alleging the officers investigating the shooting were all white.
Saturday morning, Walter Hudson, chairman of the National Awareness Alliance, said the victim’s friends and family contacted his organization. He said he will meet with the victim’s family, including Fuqua’s mother, Gwen Benson.
Benson could not be reached for comment.
Hudson organized protests after Jerame Reid was fatally shot by city police during a vehicle stop Dec. 28, 2014. Reid was black.
“I am deeply troubled by the actions of the Bridgeton Police Department,” Hudson said in a statement. “We have marched against the city of Bridgeton two years ago for the murder of Jerame Reid. (The) Bridgeton Police Department and their elected officials do not value the lives of black people in the Bridgeton community.”
Friday’s shooting is under investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from the State Police Crime Scene Unit.
Hudson, as he did with Reid’s shooting, said the Prosecutor’s Office “cannot be trusted” with investigating.
“I am calling for the New Jersey state Attorney General to immediately intervene in this investigation,” Hudson said.
Friday’s shooting occurred at about 4 p.m., the Prosecutor’s Office said.
Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae provided no information about what prompted the shooting, but said it followed an apparent foot chase. At least one officer is believed to have shot at Fuqua, she said.
Webb-McRae didn’t say whether Fuqua shot at police. A gun was recovered where Fuqua was taken into custody, she said.
Saturday morning, two South Avenue residents, who wouldn’t identify themselves, said they saw a pair of police officers running along South Avenue around 4 p.m. Friday. They said one officer ran between two houses, while the other ran between two other houses.
Both residents said they heard four shots. The victim wound up on the ground in front of a small building in an alley between two houses linking South Avenue with Grove Street, they said. The alley is near the houses the officers ran between.
One of the residents said she had just walked her two children home from their bus stop when the shots were fired. She said her children were in the house when the shooting occurred and they didn’t see anything.
On Friday, South Avenue resident Trevion Scarborough, 14, said he was in his house at 4 p.m. when he heard four gunshots. He said he left his house and ran down the street to see what happened.
Kelly said the victim was taken to Inspira Medical Center Vineland. Clergy met with the victim’s family at the hospital.
Kelly said the shooting occurred a day after he met with the Bridgeton Christian Ministers Association to discuss ways of curbing violence in the city.
Most recently, city police said a 23-year-old local man walked into a Church Street grocery store around 4 p.m. on Feb. 6, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest. The man was flown to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, from which he was eventually released.