By Cherri Gregg
CAMDEN, Nj. (CBS) – A Camden man who was severely beaten died on Saturday due to his injuries. The man’s death marks the 58th homicide in Camden this year, tying the murder record set nearly twenty years ago.
The Camden County Prosecutor’s office says 45-year-old Gregory Holder was assaulted on November 2nd near Broadway & Berkley Streets. After 8 days of fighting for his life, he succumbed to his injuries, making Camden’s murder rate hit the record set in 1995.
With less than 8 weeks to go until the new year, 2012 is sure to be a record year for murder in the financially-strapped city, which has been rife with political division and civic unrest.
“We’re a community that’s in fear of our lives,” says Rev. Clyde Cooks, pastor of Better Life Ministries in East Camden. “Our children – their lives are at stake just as much as the adults that are dying out here.”
Cook says residents are outraged. He says its time for the community and more than 300 churches to break the silence and speak out against city leadership.
“Outside townships and municipalities are able to prosper while Camden suffers,” says Cook. “We have been funded numerous times, whether it’s to keep the police, keep the firefighters or jobs or whatever, but it has been wastefully spent. But nobody speaks up. Nobody cares about us and now Camden’s people are turning on each other.”
“We have 43,000 people who live below the poverty line in Camden,” says Jeff Putthoff, Executive Director of Hopeworks N’ Camden, a non-profit that helps drop-out youth build a future. “Roughly, it’s been close to 1,000 assaults this year when you add in the murders. We only have 77,000 people. One in 77 people have been assaulted this year…that’s the ratio. “
Putthoff says the murders and assualts have left residents traumatized and at this point, it will take more than new jobs to fix what’s wrong in the city.
“We have more and more young people raising children who in sense have their own tramatic experience growing up,” he says. “So in a sense it becomes almosy multi-generational.”
Anyone with information regarding Holder’s death please contact the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office at 856-225-8500 or Camden Police at 856-757-7420.