New Jersey Arts Festival Shooting Leaves 1 Dead, 22 Injured

One suspect was killed, another is in custody following the early Sunday shooting in Trenton.

One suspect is dead and police have another in custody following a shooting Sunday morning at a 24-hour arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey, officials said.

Police killed Tahaij Wells, 32, who was recently released from prison on homicide-related charges, Angelo Onofri, the Mercer County prosecutor, said Sunday. Amir Armstrong, 23, was charged with weapons offenses.

“It absolutely could have been worse given the confined space and the number of shots that appear to have been fired,” Onofri said.

At least 22 people were injured when multiple people opened fire around 2:45 a.m. at Art All Night, a community event that also features food and music, according to officials. The number of injured rose from 20 to 22 after two additional wounded people arrived at local hospitals, officials said Sunday afternoon.

“Multiple weapons have been recovered,” Onofri said at a press conference. “Twenty individuals were treated for a variety of gunshot wounds as well as other injuries.” The youngest person injured was a 13-year-old boy.

The Mercer County Prosector’s Office homicide task force is handling the investigation. Officials are still working to determine whether more suspects were involved. They did not give a suspected motive for the shooting, but said the incident appeared to stem from a “neighborhood beef” and was not terrorism.

“We believe it was a dispute between two neighborhoods that led to violence at the event,” Onofri told ABC News. “In no way was the event the target, it just happened to be the forum for the shooting.”

Authorities also are investigating whether police officers responding to the shooting discharged their weapons, Onfori said.

Art All Night, which took place at the Roebling Wire Works Building on Trenton’s south side, began at 3 p.m. Saturday and was set to end at 3 p.m. Sunday. But festival organizers canceled the remainder of the event after the shooting.

“We’re very shocked,” Art All Night organizers said in a Facebook post Sunday. “We’re deeply saddened. Our hearts ache and our eyes are blurry but our dedication and resolve to building a better Trenton through community, creativity and inspiration will never fade. Not tonight. Not ever.”

Roughly 1,000 people were estimated to have been inside the building when the gunshots erupted, according to officials. They noted that attendees did not go through metal detectors to enter the event.

“All shootings, whether large or small, are a crisis,” Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson (D) said at the press conference. “It’s a fact that our city, as well as suburbs throughout America, are experiencing an increase in public shootings and public unrest such as this. This isn’t just a random act of violence ― this is a public health issue.”

Willa Frej contributed reporting.

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