The Union County Prosecutor’s Office
32 Rahway Avenue     Elizabeth, NJ 07202
Theodore J. Romankow

John Holl
(908) 527-4621

October 3, 2010

Arrest in Plainfield Homicide

Members of the Union County Homicide Task Force have arrested a suspect in the recent shooting death of a Plainfield taxi driver, announced Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.

Wallace Parrish, 19, of 981 West 4th Street in Plainfield was taken into custody on Saturday evening following an intense investigation by the authorities. Parrish, a confirmed member of the “Sex, Money, Murder” sect of the Bloods Street gang is charged with murder and weapon offenses, said Romankow. Parrish is being held at the Union County Jail in Elizabeth on $750,000 bail.

Parrish is accused of shooting a taxi driver, who responded to a call around 5:50 a.m. on Tuesday, September 28.

The victim Isidro Leonardo, 44 of Plainfield was discovered inside his vehicle on the 200 Block of Spooner Avenue in grave condition and was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he died several hours later.

Mr. Leonardo was an employee of United Taxi Company in Plainfield.

“This was a great investigative effort by the Homicide Task Force and the Plainfield Police Department,” said Romankow. “We continue to not only investigate this crime, but also an attempted robbery that occurred earlier the same morning involving the same taxi company.”

Romankow said this is a clear sign that gang activity goes beyond the sale of illegal drugs and causes real and permanent harm not only to their victims but families and the community at large.

“The Plainfield Police Department has been proactive in its investigation into the activity of gang members, and while they have seen some success in recent years, the only true way to rid the city of this activity is for everyone to rise up and say enough is enough. The only way to stop violence like this is by all working together – police and the public – to hold people accountable for their actions and their impact on the greater society.”

Anyone who sees illegal activity happening in their neighborhood should call the authorities immediately. Union County Crime Stoppers also offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of criminals throughout the county. All calls are kept anonymous and confidential and Crime Stoppers may be reached at (908) 654-TIPS.

Authorities made the arrest in the case of Mr. Leonardo’s homicide after carefully examining evidence and following several other investigative avenues.

“No one deserves to have their life taken in such a manner,” said Romankow. “This was another senseless and unnecessary death. Mr. Leonardo was a hardworking family man who deserved better. No one should be in danger in their own city or where they work.”

This remains an active investigation and anyone with information is urged to call Task Force Detective Kevin Grimmer at (908) 447-3777.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.