Police from Bayonne and Jersey City are conducting a joint investigation into shootings that took place in Mercer Park in Bayonne on June 21. The incident left three people with injuries, none life-threatening.
The shots erupted during a cook out at a Father’s Day celebration in the park, in which about 200 people took part. Some witnesses thought at first it was merely fireworks going off. But one witness described a flurry of people running, hopping fences, and ducking for cover.
The Bayonne Police Department responded to a report of a holdup taking place at a local liquor store. They found a 15-year old boy on the premises with an apparent gunshot wound. Jersey City police meanwhile responded to the area just on the other side of the Jersey City/Bayonne border and found two additional shooting victims.
The Bayonne police said a preliminary investigation led responders to believe that the shootings occurred on the Jersey City side of the border between Mercer Park, a county park in Bayonne, and Ruby Brown Place in Jersey City.
“Criminals don’t respect borders. Neither do we.” – Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea
Park is on the border
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said normally such investigations are taken on by the municipality where the event occurs.
“But since we have more depth in our police department than any department outside of Newark in the region, we lend help where we can,” he said. “So we are trying to defer to the home municipality.”
Jersey City Police Director James Shea said this is the first incident of this kind in that park since he took over as public safety director in Jersey City.
“But that park is also a county park,” Shea said. “So there are three agencies involved, including the Sheriff’s Department. As the mayor said, we have the most depth in our detective set up. But we work together all the time along the border. This is not unusual. We both have a mutual issue in fighting crime no matter where it is. Criminals don’t respect borders. Neither do we.”
This latest batch of shootings came a week after two people were reported murdered and three more wounded in four shootings one week earlier in Jersey City. A shooting also took place in April in Bayonne 16th Park.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.