BRIDGETON — It’s been more than a week since Erica S. McNair died after she was shot in the head while sitting on her front porch, and the investigation into her killing is still underway as her family lays her to rest.

“Anytime something is going on, this was the person who was willing to roll her sleeves up and help out,” said John Fuqua, 41, a local nonviolence advocate and friend of McNair. “They just don’t make people like Erica McNair anymore.”

It was the second fatal shooting in the city in less than a month.

McNair, 44, of Bridgeton, was found with a gunshot wound to the head at 1:33 a.m. Aug. 11 in the 200 block of Walnut Street, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said in a statement a day after the shooting. McNair was on the porch with two others when multiple gunshots were fired, and two unknown people fled the area, where numerous shell casings were found.

On Saturday, Webb-McRae said there was no new information about the investigation that could be released to The Press of Atlantic City.

McNair was the mother of six children, Fuqua said during a phone interview; her youngest is a 16-year-old son. She was a hard worker who was passionate about her community, but, above all, devoted to her family, he said, and she “was awesome” at being a grandmother.

Fuqua did not release the details of McNair’s funeral, to protect her family’s privacy.

“Erica never hurt a person in her life; she would give you the shirt off her back,” Fuqua said. “We’re going to get the person who murdered her.”

In the neighborhood, residents and business owners either didn’t know the shooting had occurred, or didn’t have anything to say about it Saturday afternoon. Down the street from the McNair home, a deli that sits inside the strip mall displayed one of the posters offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for the July 17 killing of 9-year-old Jennifer Trejo.

Jennifer was killed by stray gunfire that went through the walls of her bedroom on the corner of Church and Elmer streets, about a half-mile away from McNair’s home. The investigation into her killing is ongoing.

“We don’t have bad neighborhoods in the city of Bridgeton,” Fuqua said, adding there’s currently a concentration of gang activity in the area. “We have a few bad people plaguing our neighborhoods.”

And with gangs comes violence, he said.

“These people don’t have the muscle memory of cops or active military,” he said of the gang members using illegal firearms with no formal training or practice. “Innocent people are dying.”

While city police and the county prosecutor’s Major Crimes detectives are investigating McNair’s killing, Webb-McRae said investigators have had difficulty with cooperation from witnesses.

The people responsible for the killings are “holding our communities hostage” Fuqua said, by preventing witnesses from coming forward through fear, even though law enforcement are does everything it can.

“These things aren’t happening in other communities in America because they’re sticking together,” Fuqua said. “We need to adopt the same example. If we continue to be silent, we will continue to weep and mourn.”

Contact: 609-272-7241 Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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