Trenton arts festival shooting survivors gather for 'hope and healing' session

TRENTON, N.J. (WPVI) -- A hope and healing session was held in Trenton Monday to help those affected in the shooting at the Arts All Night event that injured 22 people, 17 of them by gunfire.

Tamar, who did not give his last name, was one of those injured in the incident. He was trampled by those fleeing the barrage of bullets earlier this month and suffered a broken leg.

Tamar is now on a mission to feel safe.

"It was always supposed to be a safe venue. For 12 years, it was a safe venue," Tamar said, adding, "Are my children happy with going out in public places? No. Are my nieces and nephews happy with going somewhere in public? No," he said.

Tamar is not alone. Dozens of community members attended the session to cope with the stress of the recent violence.

"We're having a lot of shootings and we're having a lot of violence in the city," said Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri. "I think an event like this is extremely helpful, not only to deal with the mass shooting event, but to deal with these other shootings that are occurring on all too frequent basis."

Officials said the festival shooting stemmed from a dispute between two individuals believed to be from rival gangs who opened fire at an event with 1,000 in attendance.

"It's been so quiet the last few years, I was surprised to hear it was a gang shooting," said resident Jim Young.

But for those who survived that night, it's not a one-time occurrence, but a daily fight.

"This is PTSD. You don't have to go to war for that. You're getting that right here in our community. And nobody is addressing that," said Tamar.

Organizers will hold two more sessions on Thursday. They are hoping more people will attend those meetings, as well.

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