The distraught father of a slain New Brunswick man went before the city council on Wednesday night, claiming that Hale Street had inadequate police presence last year during three murders that happened there.
In late 2012, three young people were killed on Hale Street within a few weeks: Jessica Torres, 21, of North Brunswick was slain outside of the Progressive Masonic Temple on Oct. 6, and a second victim was injured in the shooting. Torres left behind a two-year-old son.
Darryll Underwood, a suspect in an unrelated shooting that occurred on Easton Avenue in September, was charged in connection with her death.
On Nov. 10, Junio Moronto was stabbed to death at the corner of Hale Street and Remsen Avenue.
Two days later, Joshua Negron, 24, was targeted by a shooter on Nov. 12, 2012 as he stood at a candlelight vigil in the same area where Moronto was killed.
The voice of Negron's father, Jose Negron, echoed through the third floor of city hall as he bellowed at the council, claiming that a lack of police presence at the vigil was to blame for his son's death.
"I would not be standing here if there was a uniformed cop there," he said. "When do you say "Let's put the police presence there?"
City activist Tormel Pittman asked how the police department decides the location of the precinct, and claimed that he has been requesting of the council that it be moved to Hale Street for over a month.
Cpt. William Milligan said the mobile precinct location is decided by the shift commander on duty, and placed "wherever the need arises, based on the circumstances."
The police department's mobile precinct is a mobile command unit that stations officers in neighborhoods around New Brunswick for increased police presence and community outreach.
Negron said that enough attention wasn't being paid to the problem of street violence among minority citizens, and that the people being killed are kids.
"Three murders on one block in a month shouldn't happen," he said.