Killer of girl, 17, remains at large

May 22, 2008 5:53:41 PM PDT
Gunfire erupted on the streets of Trenton just after 11 p.m. Wednesday in the 500 block of West State Street, killing Shanel Brady, 17, of Carroll Street and injuring Shakita Pempleton, 19. Brady had been shot multiple times. Pempleton remains hospitalized, in fair condition, with a bullet in her leg.

Police say the killer, who is still at large, was wearing a red hoodie and blue jeans. So far, there's no motive for the shootings. This is the latest example of the violence that seems to be rising in Trenton's streets. It came just hours after a rally where community members declared that enough is enough. "They were like cowboys out here, you know what I'm saying? Shooting at it," said Clinton Barlow, of Trenton.

Barlow was with a relative in a car last night around 11 when he says shots rang out and people came running down the 500 block of West State Street in Trenton.

"When I started seeing bullets fly, bullets don't have no name on it so I ducked under the seat," recounts Barlow.

Police describe the suspect as a black male, 5'6" to 6', wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

"We want to make sure that we find out who did this and make sure these people pay the price," said Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer.

The motive for the shooting has not been determined. Law enforcement sources say both of the victims are believed to have gang connections, though at this point it's unclear if they were targets or caught in the crossfire.

Rev. Wayne Griffith of Ewing's First Baptist Church says sadly, the shooting came just hours after a march and rally by community groups calling for an end to gang violence in Trenton.

"People need to learn how to solve problems other than violence... We can't blame it on the Ku Klux Klan. We can't blame it on white people. This is black on black crime," Rev. Griffith said.

While another family grieves, residents are frightened and fed up with the gangs.

Amber Baldwin, a high school student, said "Sometimes I'm scared but I try to be around a lot of people to be protected."

Jerry Bellamy agrees, noting "too much violence, too much drugs and people just killing one another, it's bad. This is nothing but a drug-infected area. I don't want to be saying too much. Somebody might kill me."

Trenton police are urging anyone with information to call them right away. The anonymous tip line number is (609) 989-3663.