A 42-year-old Trenton man was stabbed in the abdomen and nicked in the throat inside Prince Fried Chicken on North Olden Avenue on Jan. 22 at 1:50 a.m.
Dwight Smith, the victim, was approached by Steven Harper, 20, of the 1300 block of Princeton Avenue in Trenton, who was wielding a knife. According to The Times of Trenton, Harper said “You’re the one,” as he attempted to lure Smith outside.
According to Ewing Police spokesman Sgt. Greg Smith, the victim refused, and Harper then pulled the knife and started to swing at him.
After the attack, 10 to 15 young males in the restaurant surrounded Smith and proceeded to stomp on him and kick him. The attacks ended when police cruisers arrived on the scene.
Harper was arrested by patrol officer Jason Ulrich and charged with attempted murder. According to a Jan. 25 Times article, he is currently being held on $200,000 bail at the Mercer County Corrections Center in Hopewell.
Harper is an alleged Bloods gang member, and, according to The Times, Ewing Police have said this assault is currently being investigated a possible gang-related initiation.
Dwight Smith was treated at Capital Health System at Helene Fuld Medical Center in Trenton. He was released shortly after being brought in.
The incident is just one in a series of recent gang-related acts of violence in Trenton. According to a recent article in The Times, a shooting took place on a public transit bus on Jan. 28, in which Bloods gang member Leon “Buddha” McClendon, 17, shot Jason H. Pecco, a Crips member, in the chest, back, arm, leg and stomach.
Pecco was also shot three times in the leg by Bloods member Joshua Reeves, 22, on Jan. 3. Pecco is currently listed in guarded condition at Helene Fuld Medical Center.
According to The Times and memos released by Ewing Police, gang violence has been on the rise in Trenton. It is attributed to both ongoing rivalries between the Bloods and Crips as well as within the Bloods gang itself, where independent factions are at odds.
As set forth in a commentary published late last week in The Times, this is known as “set tripping,” and is typical in the “morphing” stage, or growth of a gang within a community.
Anyone with additional information regarding the incident is asked to call the Ewing Police confidential tipline at 609-882-7530. The incident is being investigated by the detective bureau.