Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Three Shootings and an Anti-Violence March

A church group planning a march against violence for Saturday (Oct. 22, 2005) took a rain date postponing their event one week. Just hours later, three men were hurt in shootings.

Early Sunday, gun violence resulted in injuries to three men, two at a notorious corner where a young man was shot to death a year ago.

Police went to Park Avenue and East Fifth Street at 2:10 a.m. Sunday to investigate reports of shots fired, but the two victims had already arrived in the emergency room at Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center. Arthur A. Goffe, 26, had an apparent gunshot wound to his upper body and was taken to another hospital, police said. John Johnson, 18, was grazed by a bullet and was released after treatment.

The intersection has two late-night eateries where crowds gather after bars close. Last month, someone scrawled a graffiti memorial to victims of violence on a wall near where Corey Spivey was shot to death in September 2004 during one such gathering.

Anyone with information on the two shootings is asked to call Plainfield Detective Frank Wilson at (908) 753-3066.

In a separate incident at 5:15 a.m. Sunday, police returned to Muhlenberg to investigate a reported aggravated assault. Altereek S. Whitlock, 23, had also been shot in the upper body and was also taken to another hospital for further treatment. Police said Whitlock was shot by unknown persons while he was in the 100 block of Liberty Street. He walked home and was then driven to the hospital.

Plainfield Detective Jean Calvin is investigating this incident. Anyone with information may call him at (908) 753-3036.

In response to a record number of deaths by violence in the city this year a “Stop the Funerals” march is being sponsored by Perth Amboy-based Cathedral International. Members plan to carry a coffin along West Fourth Street from Clinton Avenue to Plainfield Avenue.

The group, which also holds services in Asbury Park and Plainfield, is calling on all churches, community organizations and individuals to join the march from 5 to 7 p.m. this Saturday (Oct. 29).

Cathedral’s senior pastor, Bishop Donald Hilliard Jr., said there have been so many funeral processions for young people that they have become “normative.“

“Jesus wants to deal with the young men and women with dreary hollowed-out eyes we see daily on street corners and in vacant lots,“ he said. “Within America's children today, there is a tug of war going on. That’s why we don’t have time to play church. We’re out of time for foolishness. Jesus is raising up a funeral-stopping church because the funerals are occurring daily, and we’re fighting for our lives.“

--Bernice Paglia

KEYWORDS: shooting, anti-violence