break the murder chain...
Michael DeMaio stands on the porch of a rundown three-family house in Newark's South Ward and imagines being one of the shooters in the evening's gunfight. He walks a path of scattered, spent .40-caliber shells out to the street.
"This guy was returning fire," says the veteran homicide detective, in a voice with deep roots in Newark's North Ward, and the "f" word thrown in every few words. "The knucklehead probably shot some of his own people."
DeMaio talks over his theory with the other detectives, including Lt. John Zutic, his right-hand man in the Essex County Homicide Task Force.
As they walk the crime scene, detectives come with more information: A black or dark green SUV rolled down Scheerer Avenue. A black male leaned out of the passenger side with a "banana clip" gun and fired at a crowd of about 20 people sitting on milk crates and old chairs in the driveway of the abandoned house.
"Another night in Newark," DeMaio says. "You wonder where we're headed."
He means as a society.
It is July 11, the kind of hot, humid Newark night when even the air seems to sweat. Under the day-like illumination of portable lights, DeMaio and a full shift of eight detectives go to work. All wear suits and ties pulled up tight to their necks. It’s part of Chief of Detectives Anthony Ambrose’s "look professional, act professional" philosophy. Even on a sweltering July night, the jackets stay on in public.
Interesting article into a county that hosts one of the most murderous cities in the country...
At the Newark Police Department ballistics laboratory, firearms expert Sgt. Luke Laterza looks over an assault weapon commonly used in street shootings and similar to one used in the attack that killed Harris. (Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger)