Multiple people were wounded early Sunday, June 17, 2018, when shooting broke out at the Art All Night festival in Trenton, New Jersey, early Sunday.

(Paige Gross/ Star-Ledger via AP)

Suspect Dead, 22 Injured In Shooting At 'Art All Night Festival' In Trenton

June 17, 2018 - 5:27 pm

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Two gunmen opened fire at an all-night arts and music festival early Sunday morning, sending people running over each other in the scramble to safety, authorities said. One suspect was killed and 22 people were injured.

Authorities say a number of fistfights broke out at the Art All Night Trenton festival and the event was on the verge of being shut down when the gunfire erupted. Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said it appears that several Trenton-area gangs had a dispute at the venue, and multiple suspects began shooting at each other.

The shots rang out around 2:45 a.m. during the festival that showcases local art, music, food and films. Onofri said a 33-year-old man was killed, apparently by police. He has been identified as Tahaij Wells. Onofri said Wells was recently released from prison and was on parole since February 2018 on homicide-related charges.

Another suspect, 23-year-old Amir Armstrong, is in stable condition and charged with a weapons offense. It was not immediately known if Armstrong had an attorney who could comment.

Of 17 people treated for gunshot wounds, four of them, including a 13-year-old boy, were initially listed in critical condition. Three of the four have since been upgraded to stable condition. The one remaining critically injured man "is believed to be a suspect in this matter,'' Onofri said.

On Sunday, crime scene tape surrounded the site of the historic Roebling Wire Works Building that now shares a parking lot with a supermarket, bank and laundry.

Police are also investigating an attempted carjacking that occurred in a nearby alley. Onofri said police are working to determine if it's connected to the shooting.

Gennie Darisme was getting ready to leave the festival around 2:45 a.m. when she heard shots and saw people running.

"There were people trampling other people, cars hitting other cars," she said.

When she was walking back to her car after the shots stopped, Darisme said she saw someone bleeding on the ground, in handcuffs.

"People were running to him, trying to see his face, to see if he's a family member or a friend," she said.

Theresa Brown, who has been volunteering at Art All Night for 12 years, said she was leaving her volunteer shift around 2 a.m. when she heard "pop, pop, pop. I thought it was a car backfiring," she said.

The remainder of the two-day festival has been cancelled.

"We're very shocked. We're deeply saddened. Our hearts ache and our eyes are blurry but our dedication and resolve to building a better Trenton through community, creativity and inspiration will never fade. Not tonight. Not ever," festival organizers posted on social media Sunday.

Trenton Mayor Eric E. Jackson said the violence can't be "discarded as just random violence; this is a public health issue."