Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Outbreak of Shootings Has Cops on Guard in Paterson

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Outbreak of Shootings Has Cops on Guard in Paterson

Article excerpt

PATERSON -- An outbreak of three street shootings in less than 10 hours on Thursday made September the city's most violent month of the year and seems to signal an end to the relative quiet that had dominated in summer.

Thursday's shootings happened in different parts of the city and included the wounding of a passenger in a car on a highway and a man who was riding a motorized scooter, police said.

"We're currently investigating to try to determine if there's any connection, as we do with all multiple shootings," said Jerry Speziale, the city's police director.

There have been six shootings in the past six days, and 10 so far in September.

"There has definitely been an uptick," Speziale said. He said he would meet with Capt. Heriberto Rodriguez, who oversees the police group that investigates homicides, and Lt. Pat Murray, whose unit investigates non-fatal shootings, to discuss strategic actions in response to the shootings.

There have been 51 shootings in Paterson this year, resulting in eight deaths and at least 55 people being wounded. Despite the recent spike in violence, the city's shooting numbers remain lower than what they were for this period last year.

Thursday's first shooting happened at 12:10 a.m., when a passenger in a car heading south on McLean Boulevard, also known as Route 20, was shot by someone in a car that had pulled up alongside and fired multiple times, said Murray.

The victim, a 30-year-old city resident, was shot in the jaw and was in stable condition at Thursday night at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, police said.

Authorities have not determined whether the shooting was random or whether the occupants of the car were targeted for some reason. Police do not know how many people were in either vehicle. They also are not sure where the victim was before the shooting.

The driver dropped the victim off at the hospital but did not stick around for police to question him, authorities said.

The second shooting took place at 1:55 a.m. at Cobb Park, near North Main and East Main streets. Murray said the victim was with a group of people in the park when someone apparently walked toward them and fired multiple shots. …

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