TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — Gov. Phil Murphy is urging the Trenton community to continue its annual all-night arts festival despite the outbreak of violence at this year’s event.READ MORE: Amtrak Forced To Reduce Service Along Northeast Corridor Due To COVID-Related Staffing Shortage
Murphy said Monday the impoverished city of about 85,000 needs something “like that now more than ever.” The festival has been a badge of pride for the city.
“Let’s hope that it doesn’t die, that we breathe new life into (it) and please, God, that everyone who goes to it is safe,” Murphy said.
Investigators returned to the scene in Trenton 24 hours after a shooting left 22 people hurt, 17 of them injured by gunfire. The youngest victim, a 13-year-old boy, was initially listed in critical condition but is now expected to survive.
“Whoever that child is, my heart goes out to his or her family, nothing could be worst,” said Zoe Brookes, who runs a nonprofit arts youth program and rents space in the building.
Her teen group performed at the annual art all night festival hours before the shooting.
The annual 24-hour community arts festival drew more than a thousand attendees.
Investigators say the shooting was between neighborhood gangs. One of the suspected shooters, Tahaij Wells, died at the scene. Wells was just released on parole for a homicide-related charge.
A second suspect remains in critical condition after being injured in the shooting.READ MORE: 1 Dead After Being Shot 3 Times In North Philadelphia
A third suspect, 23-year-old Amir Armstrong, is in the hospital in stable condition and is now in police custody.
Six victims remain in the hospital, four people are listed in stable condition, two are listed as critical.
“It breaks my heart to have something hit so close to home,” said Pastor Jessica Stenstrom during a vigil on Monday night.
The local Trenton pastor held the vigil for the victims.
“I had several church members who were there that night and left shortly before everything outbroke. I’m glad that they were safe, but it just makes me really sad,” said Stenstrom.
Mayor-elect Reed Gusciora agrees the event should be held again but says new security measures may be needed.
The all-night arts showcase started 12 years ago. Residents say it typically has a fun vibe, but Sunday’s event seemed tense.
It’s held over a mile from downtown, in a historic former factory that supplied cables for the Brooklyn and Golden Gate bridges.
Murphy, who signed a half-dozen gun control measures this month, said more needs to be done to try to shut down the so-called “iron pipeline,” a reference to the nearly 80 percent of guns recovered from crimes coming from out of state.
According to the Census, nearly 30 percent of the city’s residents are in poverty, compared with about 10 percent in New Jersey. The state police reported a nearly 11 percent increase in violent crime from 2015 to 2016, according to the most recent uniform crime report.MORE NEWS: No Injuries In West Philadelphia House Fire, Officials Say
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