BRIDGETON — Authorities on Friday arrested three men in the shooting death of 9-year-old Jennifer “Chikis” Trejo, who was killed by a bullet that pierced her bedroom wall as she slept July 17.
Michael L. Elliott, 25, of North Laurel Street in Bridgeton; Leroy Frazier III, 20, of Irving Avenue in Bridgeton; and Charles Gamble, 18, of Salem, were each charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and weapons offenses, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said in a statement. All three suspects are being held in the Cumberland County jail without bail.
Frazier and Gamble were arrested at their respective residences, Elliott at his place of employment in Bridgeton, Bridgeton police Chief Michael Gaimari Sr. said. Authorities searched the residences of both Elliott and Frazier and found at least one handgun in addition to a substantial amount of suspected heroin and a small amount of crack cocaine, Gaimari said.
As a result, Elliott was additionally charged with possession of a weapon and possession of heroin, and Frazier was additionally charged with possession of narcotics, the Prosecutor’s Office said.
“Nothing will bring Jennifer back, but the fact that those who we believe are responsible are off the street helps reassure the public that these actions will not be tolerated and those responsible held accountable,” Gaimari said.
Jennifer was pronounced dead at Inspira Medical Center shortly after police responded to the 12:30 a.m. shots-fired call at her house on Elmer Street. Authorities said at the time they believed a person or number of people fired several shots from the area of Elmer and Walnut streets, striking four vehicles and shooting through a rear wall of the girl’s home.
Jennifer’s death was the first of a few high-profile incidents of violence in Cumberland County this summer. Youth football coach Joseph “JoJo” Jones, 37, was shot and killed in the parking lot of Lakeside Middle School in Millville on Aug. 9, and two days later, Erica S. McNair, 44, was found with a gunshot wound to the head on the front porch of her Bridgeton home.
Webb-McRae wrote an opinion piece that ran in The Press of Atlantic City, stating she was “deeply moved and shocked” by the homicides and that the community needed to come together to overcome the gun violence.
Gaimari and Webb-McRae said no further information will be released at this time as the investigation is ongoing, but additional arrests and/or charges may follow.
Anyone with information pertaining to this investigation can call Bridgeton Detective Mark Yoshioka at 856-392-9031 or Prosecutor’s Detective Harvey Calixto at 856-207-2999, or text tip411 (847411) with “Bridgeton” and then the message.