Shooting at New Jersey birthday party that left 2 dead, 12 injured was a ‘targeted attack,’ police say; suspect arrested

BRIDGETON, N.J. – A shooting that killed two people and wounded a dozen at a birthday party was “a targeted attack,” the state’s top law enforcement officer said Monday.

“This was not a random act of violence,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said at a news conference, citing the number of victims. He did not discuss a motive.

The people who died were Asia Hester, 25, and Kevin Elliott, 30, both with Bridgeton addresses, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

One person was arrested on weapons charges, said State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan. Multiple guns and shell casings were recovered at the scene, he said.

“We fully anticipate more arrests,” Callahan said.

Police did not identify the 12 people wounded in the shooting around 11:50 p.M. Saturday in Fairfield Township, about an hour outside Philadelphia. The party had grown after another party was broken up following a noise complaint around 11 p.M., Authorities said.

Most of the partygoers were gone by the time police got to the house.

Investigators are looking to see whether guns found at the scene “can be linked to other recent acts of violence in the area,” Grewal said.

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“There’s a significant amount of evidence to process,” he said.

From Sunday:Manhunt underway after gunman kills 2, wounds 12 in New Jersey house party shooting rampage.

All of the victims were Cumberland County residents, ranging in age from 19 to 35, said county prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae.

Some of the victims were released after hospital treatment, “while others continue to fight for their lives,” Murphy said.

Murphy said the incident shows the need for tough gun control measures.

“This is a nation awash in guns, and we’re not an island,” the governor said. “We’re not immune.”.

Hester lived in Fairfield’s Gouldtown area and worked for Jefferson Health, according to her Facebook page. She was a native of Kingston, Jamaica, and attended the Cumberland County campus of Rowan College of South Jersey.

Her death prompted an outpouring of grief on social media.

“Asia, I’ve watched you grow up and become a beautiful young woman inside and out!” Posted a family friend, Nicole Killeen Ramseur of Sicklerville. “I’m so sorry this crazy person took your life away.”.

Additional details were not immediately available about Elliott.

Callahan said people at the home were believed to have arrived from a party held earlier that night on King Drive in Fairfield.

A state trooper who had just conducted a traffic stop nearby went to the shooting scene after hearing what sounded like fireworks or gunfire, Callahan said.

“Many of those who attended the party and even those who’d been shot had already left the scene when most of law enforcement officers responded,” Callahan said.

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Area leaders called for the community to remain calm.

“As a community, we all need to stick together and keep each other safe,” Fairfield Mayor Benjamin Byrd said.

“We’ve got to get through this as a community,” Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly said. “Mayors, council members, we’re not able to do it by ourselves. We’re going to need the entire community to work together, to share information and to provide support to each other.”.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

Follow Jim Walsh and Anthony V. Coppola on Twitter: @jimwalsh_cp and @AVCoppola.