One man dies, a second is seriously wounded in two separate incidents
The fatality comes on the heels of 11 homicides in the city this year. Although overall crime is down, eight men and three women have died in shootings, beatings and other violent crimes in 2005. In response, the city received help from a special Union County Task Force and has just deployed a new crime-fighting program that places police captains in charge of each of the city's four wards.
Early Saturday, Juan A. Sanchez, 35, died shortly after being taken to Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center. Pedro Espinosa, 32, of Plainfield was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter.
Police arrived at 1:30 a.m. to a city parking lot between Watchung Avenue and Somerset Street on reports of a fight. They found Sanchez lying on the ground, incapacitated from a blow to the head. The Plainfield Rescue Squad treated him and took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The fight broke out between two groups of Hispanic men, police said, and words turned into a physical confrontation. The location, north of stores in the 100 block of East Front Street, was a kind of alley strewn with loose bricks next to the Plainfield Farmers Market.
The fatality came on the eve of the 5th Annual Hispanic Heritage Festival. Organizer Flor Gonzalez of the Latin American Coalition said the group had already been contacted to help raise funds for a funeral for Sanchez. Police declined to give his country of origin or to say whether the fight involved various nationalities.
Espinosa was in Plainfield's municipal jail Saturday with no bail set.
Anyone with information on the Sanchez fatality was asked to call Plainfield Detective Ivelisse Garcia at (908) 753-3061 or Detective Richard Gregory of the Union County Prosecutor's Office at (908) 527-4509.
The second incident, a shooting, occurred at 12:45 p.m. at Watchung Gardens, 802 E. Front St., police said.
Police found Quantrey W. Gordon, 26, in a courtyard with gunshot wounds to the upper body. He was treated at the scene by the Plainfield Rescue Squad and Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center's Mercy 6 Unit, but was later taken to a Central Jersey trauma unit that police did not want identify.
Anyone with information on the shooting may call Plainfield Detective Leslie Hudson at (732) 522-0453 or Detective Bridget Lawrence of the Union County Prosecutor's Office at (908) 527-4618.
Anyone wishing to give anonymous information on either case may call (908) 654-TIPS.