After festival shooting, Trenton’s new mayor vows safety
TRENTON — As the investigation continues into the Art All Night shooting a few days ago, leaders are vowing to stop gun violence and keep residents and visitors safe in New Jersey’s capital city.
After meeting with local religious and state law enforcement leaders on Tuesday, Reed Gusciora, a longtime Democratic assemblyman was elected this month as mayor, said the city will continue to hold festivals and celebrations.
“In the future we intend to keep coming to Art All Night. We need these festivals," he said.
The shooting between gangsters and police left 22 people injured. One of the suspected gunmen was killed by police gunfire, making him the ninth homicide victim in the city this year. Last year, the city recorded 23 homicides, up from 21 the year before.
Gusciora said other events including concerts and high school graduations will go on as planned this summer.
“We want to make them safe, and we need to have not only for our residents, but we need to bring visitors, continue to bring visitors.”
Which means efforts to revitalize Trenton will move forward.
“I’m going to continue to work with Gov. Murphy and the County Executive, but it will be a resolve of my administration that public safety will be a priority,” said Gusciora.
“Public safety has to be job number one, and I hope and pray that we’re not only going to have Art All Night, but we’re going to encourage more visitors into the Capital city.”
He added it’s important to remember “it’s not just the festivals that we have to keep safe, but it’s our neighborhoods, and we have to reach out to the clergy, nonprofits, recreational department and provide alternatives to violence.”
Gusciora said Trenton’s recreational budget needs to be doubled or tripled “to make sure we have these alternative avenues, and where we encourage our youngsters to resolve things by other means and not by guns.”
He also said more employment opportunities for young people must be provided, so he’ll be “reaching out to the business community in finding alternatives.”
Gusciora called the Art All Night shooting a “post-Parkland incident” and he thanked the Parkland, Florida, high school students for starting a national dialogue about gun violence.
He also saluted the Trenton police for putting their lives on the line and responding so quickly to the shooting.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said any type of violence requires a collaborative response.
“Here in New Jersey, here in Trenton, we are firmly committed to working together to reducing the scourge of gun violence," Grewal said.
He vowed his office along with the resources of the State Police will be used to work with Trenton to crack down on gun violence and make the city safe.
“It’s got to be all of us working together. If we continue building relationships I’m confident we will keep making those strides that we have made already and keep on that path.”