14 people shot, 2 killed, at NJ house party; suspect at large, police say

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Police gather at the scene of a mass shooting in Fairfield Township, New Jersey on May 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Two people were fatally shot and another 12 people were wounded at a house party in southern New Jersey Saturday night, police said Sunday.

The shooting happened around 11:50 p.m. on East Commerce Street in Fairfield Township, Cumberland County, about an hour outside of Philadelphia, according to New Jersey State Police.

A 30-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman were killed, police said. The 12 additional victims were taken to area hospitals for treatment. One person was listed in critical condition, police said.

All of the victims were adults, according to state police.

The suspect was still on the loose Sunday morning and the motive remained under investigation, police said.

John Fuqua, who runs the local anti-violence organization Life Worth Living, said he was called out Saturday night to assist families. He said the shooting happened at a 90s-themed party where guests ranged from teenagers to senior citizens.

Gov. Phil Murphy said hundreds of people were at the party. He released a statement Sunday morning calling the mass shooting “horrific.”

At this time, at least two people have lost their lives, among numerous other shooting victims, including several with injuries that are life-threatening. We hold those who have died, and their families, in our prayers today, and we also pray for the recoveries of those injured. We are grateful for the swift response of law enforcement and stand with them as they continue their investigation.

Let there be no mistake: This despicable and cowardly act of gun violence only steels our commitment to ensuring New Jersey leads the nation in passing and enforcing strong and common sense gun safety laws. No community should ever experience what occurred last night in Fairfield.

Gov. Phil Murphy

Fairfield Township Mayor Benjamin Byrd Sr., who was at the scene Sunday, said, “Nobody knows when someone’s going to come out of the woods with a gun,”

He did not have any details about the shooting.

Murphy called the shooting “horrific.”

“This despicable and cowardly act of gun violence only steels our commitment to ensuring New Jersey leads the nation in passing and enforcing strong and commonsense gun safety laws,” Murphy said in a statement. “No community should ever experience what occurred last night in Fairfield.”

WPVI-TV reported that the reverend of a nearby church heard the gunfire.

“I just started hearing at first what I thought was fireworks, it was really gunshots, and I heard nine in rapid succession,” said the Rev. Michael Keene of the Trinity AME Church.

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