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East Orange observes National Gun Violence Awareness Day to combat violence

Cyril Josh Barker | 6/15/2017, 11:22 a.m.
Several recent shootings in East Orange, N.J., have not only put the city on edge but also prompted the community ...
East Orange City Hall Facebook

Several recent shootings in East Orange, N.J., have not only put the city on edge but also prompted the community to step and become more involved.

One of the most recent incidents in the city occurred last Friday and left two men dead and another one wounded. Reports indicate the shooting took place on Hollywood Avenue. Officers were called to reports of a shooting in the area.

The victims were Dyshawn L. Simpkins, 19, and Keeayre Griffin, 29, who both died. The name of the third victim, who suffered injuries, has not been released. No motive for the shooting has been released, and police are continuing to investigate.

Simpkins was a college student enrolled at Norfolk State University in Virginia, where he played football. He was a star athlete at Paramus Catholic High School.

Gun Violence Awareness Day was observed earlier this month in East Orange and honored two School Resource Officers. In June 2016, Segundo Marquez and Christopher Kyer responded to the report of an alleged gun sale near East Orange Campus High School shortly after school dismissal. In the midst of a foot pursuit, the armed suspect fired at the officers, but the officers subdued and apprehended the suspect without discharging their weapons.

“These officers epitomize what makes the East Orange Police Department one of the finest in the nation,” said Mayor Lester E. Taylor III. “In a situation that easily could have ended in tragedy, the officers exercised extreme restraint and great courage to fulfill their pledge to protect and serve the citizens of the City of East Orange.”

In the first five months of 2017, police have already seized 37 illegal guns, preventing what could have been 37 potential gun-related crimes, according to city officials.