In a period of 30 hours spanning from March 24 to March 26, the Trenton Police Department responded to three separate shooting episodes that claimed the lives of three individuals. These recent homicides bring the total number of murders in Trenton this past month to five.
The first murder occurred Thursday, March 24. Trenton police responded to reports of a sick or injured woman slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle in the area of Spring and White Streets around 8:30 p.m.
According to a Trenton Police Department press release, officers found Kendra L. DeGrasse, 33, lifeless. Trenton Emergency Medical Services declared her dead at the scene, citing a gunshot wound to the head as the cause of death.
The Times of Trenton reported that DeGrasse was “key prosecution witness in the 2003 trial of a Bloods gang member on charges he tried to kill two city police officers in 2001.”
The gang member, DeGrasse’s ex-boyfriend, was acquitted of the two murder charges against him but convicted on other accounts. He now serves a 47-year sentence.
Additional charges were brought against DeGrasse’s ex-boyfriend and his cousin last year for witness tampering connected to the testimonies of DeGrasse and another woman. It is unknown if this has anything to do with DeGrasse’s murder.
The following evening around 7:20 p.m., K-9 Training Officers and local residents reported to police dispatchers that they heard gunshots coming from the area of Walnut and Cleveland Avenues.
Upon responding to the scene, police found Edwin Richard Andino, 19, shot in the chest and laying on the sidewalk. He was transported to Capital Health Systems where he died from his injuries.
According to The Times, four armed males were seen running from Walnut Avenue to Hampton Avenue after the gunfire, and they were reportedly wearing dark clothing and knit caps.
Just a few hours later, around 1:40 a.m., patrolling officers reported hearing gunshots from the area of Martin Luther King Boulevard to police dispatchers. Dispatchers received a call from Capital Health Systems reporting that a gunshot victim had entered the emergency room. The victim, Antoine L. Thurmond, 35, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
A press release from the Trenton Police Department reveals that Thurmond and James Williams were involved in an altercation with unknown parties earlier that night.
After the disagreement, Thurmond and Williams went to Jo Jo’s Steak House, ordered food and called a cab. When the cab driver, Michel Pierre of Yellow Cab, arrived, he stated his intention to order food also. Thurmond and Williams protested, saying they were in a hurry, and offered to share their own food.
The cab received open fire as it pulled away from the Steak House. Police have not said who was thought to be shooting.
When Pierre realized what was happening, he drove straight for Capital Heath Systems. Pierre was hit in the left hip, but the injury was not life-threatening and he was treated and released.
In the incident, police originally reported the vehicle of the shooters as a white pick-up truck, but The Times said the shooters have changed their automobile to a white Cadillac Escalade.
All three cases are filed as homicides with the Trenton Police Department, but suspects in each are yet to be named.
Many College students said they doubted something like this would happen on campus, but admitted they were nonetheless nervous at the proximity of the shootings to campus.
“It makes me nervous sometimes since we have an open campus and anybody can walk on whenever they want,” Kathryn LeMaresquier, sophomore English major, said.
“I think (Campus Police) does a pretty good job. They’re always patrolling and driving around seeing who’s on the perimeter of campus. They should probably do a little more patrolling within the actual campus itself in between dorms and academic buildings.”
“I feel safe on campus only because of the large number of people there,” Brian Guerin, junior graphic design major, said. However, he does have reservations regarding the security of the off-campus Country Club Apartments in which he resides.
“There is virtually no security,” Guerin said. “Anybody can walk into the apartments; there isn’t even ID card access. They should open the security booth at the entrance and ask for ID to enter the parking lot. Considering the rest is fenced in, this might bring safety up to par. There is a lovely security booth with nobody in it ever.”