Handguns are made to kill people. We know this in our bones because of murders in Far Rockaway and Fulham and Orange and now, once again, in Newark. The bloodshed in New Jersey, spewed Gangland style, killed three kids and injured another on an abandoned schoolyard in a tonier part of Newark — where this sort of thing doesn’t happen — called Ivy Hill.
The killings, along with an unrelated shooting over the weekend that killed a Montclair man, brought Newark’s murder total to 60 in 2007. That is three fewer than for the same period in 2006, but the statistic obscures a more disturbing one: 17 people have been killed in the city in the eight weeks since June 12, a rate that would surpass 2006’s total of 106 murders for the calendar year.
The most heinous killings happened in the Ivy Hill schoolyard where five gangsters lined up four friends, made them kneel against a wall execution-style and shot them dead in the head.
Iofemi Hightower, 20, was shot dead in the head.
Dashon Harvey, 20, was shot dead in the head.
Terrance Aeriel, 18, was shot dead in the head.
His sister, Natasha, 19, survived a gunshot to the face and is in fair condition as she tries the police to help identify the killers. All four victims were lifelong friends and attended Delaware State University together. None of the dead or wounded had criminal records. It appears the reason for the executions was a robbery gone bad:
Police said when the four students arrived, there were already two men in the schoolyard. After a few minutes, several more men arrived, and the friends got nervous. According to McCarthy, they sent text messages back and forth to each other saying, “Let’s get out of here.”
At some point, the men, armed with at least one gun and a knife, approached the four friends and announced a robbery. What they took remains unclear. McCarthy said knife wounds on Hightower’s forearms and broken jewelry found at the scene led police to believe there was a struggle.
Can Cory Booker, Newark’s newly elected privileged pretty boy Ivy-League educated lawyer-turned-mayor, turn around a city like Newark where bloodshed and mayhem are the covenants of the day and the price of surviving on the streets is paid with the futures of the young?
Cory Booker, 38, was elected mayor of Newark in May 2006, becoming only the third man to lead New Jersey’s largest city since
1970. A lawyer and Rhodes Scholar, he was raised in the affluent suburb of Harrington Park and educated at Stanford University and Yale Law School. During the campaign, Mr. Booker pledged to tackle crime, widespread unemployment and the despair that has clouded this city’s fortunes since the 1967 riots drove thousands of residents to the suburbs.
Or does a thug city like Newark demand a gangster-like mayor in the form of former Newark mayor Sharpe James who has been indicted for misuse of city money when he led the city?
Sharpe James served as mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, for 21 years. A state senator since 1999, he was a political force to be reckoned well beyond Newark’s borders — arguably the state’s most important voice for cities and minorities, but widely derided as a master of patronage but not policy. In 2002, he faced the fiercest challenge to his control of City Hall, and narrowly defeated Cory Booker, a charismatic young lawyer. Four years later Mr. James chose not to run for re-election as mayor, and in April 2007 he announced that he would retire from his senate seat at the end of his term. Shortly after he left the mayoralty a federal investigation began into the sale of city lands and Mr. James’ use of city credit cards; he was indicted on July 12, 2007.
Can Cory Booker’s book smarts translate into street-smart credibility in Newark? Or does Ivy League theory drain down the wishing well when blood forms rivulets in the schoolyards of the urban core?