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Prosecutor

Fatal shooting in Elizabeth under investigation

A fatal shooting that took place in Elizabeth on Thursday evening is under investigation, Union County Prosecutor William Daniel, Elizabeth Police Director Earl Graves and Elizabeth Police Chief Giacomo Sacca jointly announced Friday.

The victim has been identified as Shamar L. Brown, 34, of Elizabeth.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 16, members of the Elizabeth Police Department responded to the intersection of Second Street and Bond Street in Elizabeth, where they found Brown at that location, having sustained serious injury, according to the preliminary investigation. He was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene.

This matter remains under investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, Elizabeth Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and the Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit. 

Anyone with information is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Sergeant Christopher Scuorzo at 908-472-0492, Detective Richard Acosta at 908-347-0404, or Elizabeth Police Department Detective John Londono at 908-578-5192.

The Union County Crime Stoppers are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case; tips can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org.

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Prosecutor

Plainfield man charged in connection with October sexual assault

A Plainfield man has been charged in connection with a sexual assault that occurred in the city earlier this year, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Acting Plainfield Police Director Captain David Guarino jointly announced Thursday.

Terence Rhue, 22, is charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault with a weapon, third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact with a weapon, and two related fourth-degree weapons offenses.

On October 4, 2021, members of the Plainfield Police Department responded to a residence on Randolph Road in Plainfield following reports of a sexual assault by an armed individual at that location, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Caroline Lawlor and Bryan Tiscia, who are prosecuting the case.

DNA evidence collected at the scene of the October 4th incident was processed through the Prosecutor’s Office Forensic Laboratory for testing, where analysis revealed a strong match to Rhue.

This investigation was led by the Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and the Plainfield Police Department, with assistance from the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit.

These new charges are in addition to several charges already pending against Rhue for his alleged role in a home invasion and sexual assault that took place in Westfield on October 19, 2021.

Rhue has remained lodged in the Essex County Jail since his October arrest. A first appearance for the additional charges is scheduled for later today.

Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Annie Coll at 908-347-2474 or PPD Detective Carlos Navarro at 908-753-3415.

Convictions on crimes of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to twenty years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Public’s help sought in string of violent robberies under investigation in Plainfield

A series of violent street robberies which have occurred over the course of several weeks in Plainfield is under investigation, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Acting Plainfield Police Director Captain David Guarino jointly announced Wednesday.

The robberies have been carried out in Plainfield, primarily during early morning and daytime hours, and the suspects — believed to be a group of between two and four black males utilizing stolen motor vehicles– appear to be targeting lone Hispanic males throughout the City. “The investigation into these intolerable attacks has been ongoing and was ramped up after four robberies of Hispanic males were reported over this past weekend” Daniel stated.  Evidence gained throughout this investigation has led to information possibly linking the current attacks to numerous additional robberies dating back to the spring of this year. 

The Prosecutor’s Office and Plainfield Police Department are releasing video footage obtained during the investigation in hopes that a member of the public will recognize one or more of the perpetrators or have information that would assist in identifying the suspects, additional victims or persons with further information. 

A joint investigation involving the Plainfield Police Department and Union County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit remains ongoing, and anyone with information about this matter is being strongly urged to contact Plainfield Police Sergeant Thomas Collina at 732-620-2209 or Union County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Alex Lanza at 908- 672-2011.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org; submission of tips made in this fashion that result in an indictment and conviction can be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 via the Union County Crime Stoppers.

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Prosecutor

Veteran East Orange Police Department officer/PAL youth football director indicted for sexual crimes against children

A Union County grand jury has returned a 16-count indictment against a 30-year veteran of the East Orange Police Department charged with serious sexual crimes against 4 children, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced Tuesday.

Edward Giles, 61, formerly of Roselle, is charged with two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a child, two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a child victim over whom the defendant had supervisory or disciplinary power, five counts of various second-degree sexual offenses against a child victim, four counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child by photographing or videotaping child in a prohibited sexual act, and three counts of third-degree invasion of privacy.

Giles, a 30-year veteran of the East Orange Police Department, served as a community resource officer and youth football director for the East Orange Police Athletic League (PAL).

In 2019, a seven-month investigation led by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) was initiated following a referral by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, who also assisted the investigation alongside the Prosecutor’s Office’s Cyber Crime Task Force and the Roselle Police Department. Investigators determined that several of the alleged incidents occurred at Giles’s home on the 300 block of West 4th Avenue in Roselle, according to SVU Director and Union County Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who is prosecuting the case.

The initial investigation revealed that the first victim, a student-athlete playing for the East Orange Wildcats youth football team, then coached by Giles, was allegedly assaulted on several occasions from 1998 into 2000, when he was between 11 and 13 years old, Lawlor said. The second victim, also a youth football player, was allegedly assaulted from 2002 into 2003, when he was between 12 and 13 years old.

Following the execution of a search warrant at Giles’ home, forensic analysis of recovered recorded materials resulted in the addition of several charges. The recordings were made between April 2018 and October 2019, when the victims were between the ages of 13 and 15 years old.

Anyone with additional information about Giles’ activities is urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Lieutenant Sofia Santos at 908-577-4256.

Convictions on criminal charges of this nature are commonly punishable by 10 to 20 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Plainfield man charged in connection with fatal stabbing

Michael Gonzalez, 27, of Plainfield, has been arrested and charged in connection with a fatal stabbing that took place Sunday morning in Plainfield, Union County Prosecutor William Daniel and Plainfield Police Department Acting Director Captain David Guarino jointly announced Monday. 

Gonzalez has been charged with first degree aggravated manslaughter, two related second degree weapons offenses, and fourth degree hindering an investigation.

Shortly before 4:40 a.m. on Sunday, members of the Plainfield Police Department responded to the 400 block of Liberty Street and found the victim, Osmond Franklin, 48, of Plainfield, at that location, having sustained serious injury, according to preliminary investigation.

Franklin was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was later pronounced dead.

A fast moving investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, Plainfield Police Department, and Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit resulted in Gonzalez being identified as the suspect. Gonzalez was taken into custody without incident on Sunday evening and is lodged in the Union County Jail pending a first appearance and detention hearing to take place in Union County Superior Court.  

Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Sergeant Christopher Scuorzo at 908-472-0492, Detective Nora Berrio at 908-370-3016, or the Plainfield Police Department at 908-753-3360.

Convictions on criminal charges of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of 10 to 30 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Arrest made in connection with Union homicide

A Perth Amboy man has been arrested and charged in connection with a fatal shooting that took place in Union on Thursday, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Union Township Police Director Daniel Zieser jointly announced Friday.

Shannon Assing, 24, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and second-degree burglary in connection with the death of Isaiah Spicer, 24, of Union. 

At approximately 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 4, members of the Union Township Police Department responded to the 1200 block of Coolidge Ave, where they found Spicer at that location, having sustained serious injury, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Grady, who is prosecuting the case. Spicer was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation led by the Union County Homicide Task Force, and assisted by the Union Township Police Department, the Elizabeth Police Department, the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and the Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit resulted in the identification of Assing as the suspect.

Assing was taken into custody without incident Friday morning, and is lodged in the Union County Jail pending a first appearance and detention hearing, scheduled to take place in Superior Court.

“We are grateful for the collaboration between local law enforcement agencies that resulted in the speedy identification and apprehension of the suspect,” Prosecutor Daniel said. “We hope this arrest can bring solace to the loved ones grieving Mr. Spicer.” 

Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Sergeant Christopher Scuorzo at 908-472-0492 or Union Township Police Department Detective William Young at 908-851-5037.

Convictions on crimes of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Fatal shooting under investigation in Union

A fatal shooting that took place in Union Township early Thursday morning is under investigation, Union County Prosecutor William Daniel and Union Township Police Director Daniel Zieser jointly announced Thursday.

The victim has been identified as Isaiah Spicer, 24, of Union.

At approximately 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 4, members of the Union Police Department responded to the 1200 block of Coolidge Ave, where they found Spicer at that location, having sustained serious injury, according to the preliminary investigation. He was subsequently pronounced dead.

This matter remains under investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, Union Township Police Department, Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit, and Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit. Anyone with information is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Sergeant Christopher Scuorzo at 908-472-0492, Sergeant William Fettes at 908-771-2065, or Union Police Department Detective William Young at 908-851-5037.

At this time, there is no known further threat to the community and there is no indication of gang involvement.

The Union County Crime Stoppers are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case; tips can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org.

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Prosecutor

Union County Collects 525+ Unwanted Guns in Buyback Amnesty Event

Residents received up to $250 reward for turning in unwanted guns.

Union County Prosecutor William Daniel and Commissioner Board Chairman Alexander Mirabella joined with Commissioner Hudak, Public Safety Director Andrew Moran, Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli and other County and local officials this morning to present more than 525 weapons collected last Saturday during the Union County Gun Amnesty Buyback event.

Union County, NJ – Union County’s 2021 Gun Amnesty Buyback event was a success, with residents turning in more than 525 unwanted guns in exchange for rewards of up to $250.00 per weapon. The countywide event was held on Saturday, October 23, at locations in Elizabeth, Plainfield and Westfield.

No questions were asked, and guns in any condition were accepted.

 “I want to thank all of the residents who participated in the event as well as the law enforcement officers who worked to create a safe environment for those returning guns,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “We hope this event raises awareness about the importance of getting unwanted guns off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”

“Dedicated collaboration between state, county, and local organizations made Saturday’s three gun buyback events a success,” said Union County Prosecutor William Daniel. “The enthusiastic participation of community members highlights the importance of fostering relationships between law enforcement agencies and the citizens we serve, as we work towards our common goal of safer communities. We look forward to hosting more events in the future.”

“Gun buybacks are an important part of the gun safety toolkit, along with reasonable, common sense regulations that reduce the threat of gun violence and prevent criminals from accessing guns,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, the Chairman of the Commissioner Board’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. “This was a collaborative effort and I want to thank everyone involved.”

 The Union County Gun Amnesty Buyback program was supported by the Union County Board of County Commissioners and sponsored by the Union County Prosecutor and the Union County Sheriff with the Union County Division of Police and the police departments of the cities of Elizabeth, Plainfield, and Westfield.

For questions about the buyback event, call the Union County Department of Public Safety at 908-654-9816.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

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Prosecutor

Plainfield man arrested for Westfield sexual assault

Terence Rhue

A Plainfield man was arrested early this morning after being criminally charged with sexually assaulting a woman during a home invasion in Westfield on Tuesday, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro jointly announced Friday.

Terence Rhue, 22, is charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault, first-degree robbery, second-degree burglary, third-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon in connection with the attack on a female resident. 

Westfield Police Department patrol units responded to the area Forest and Longfellow Avenues at approximately 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday in response to a report of a sexual assault by an armed intruder, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who is prosecuting the case.

An exhaustive investigation led by the Union County Special Victims Unit and the Westfield Police Department, and assisted by the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center (R.O.I.C.), as well as the Plainfield, Scotch Plains and Fanwood Police Departments, resulted in the identification of Rhue as the suspect and led to his eventual capture and arrest.

“We are grateful for the collaboration with the local and State law enforcement agencies who assisted our Office in quickly locating and apprehending the suspect,” Prosecutor Daniel said.

Rhue is currently being held in the Union County Jail pending a First Appearance.

Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Annie Coll at 908-347-2474 or Westfield Police Department Detective Betsy Savnik at 908-789-6078.

Convictions on crimes of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to twenty years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Westfield home invasion under investigation

A home invasion sexual assault that took place in Westfield Tuesday is under investigation, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro jointly announced this morning.

Westfield Police Department patrol units responded to the area of Forest and Longfellow Avenues at approximately 12:50 p.m. Tuesday in response to a report of a burglary and sexual assault by an armed assailant, according to the preliminary investigation.

The investigation into the attack is being led by the Union County Special Victims Unit and the Westfield Police Department and assisted by members of the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit and the New Jersey State Police.

Attached is a composite sketch of the suspect in the assault. Anyone who may know this individual or has any information about this matter is urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Annie Coll at 908-347-2474 or Westfield Police Department Detective Betsy Savnik at 908-789-6078.  Members of the public are strongly discouraged from approaching or confronting any individuals they believe to resemble the suspect composite, but are instead advised to contact members of law enforcement.  

Tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org; submission of tips made in this fashion that result in an indictment and conviction can be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 via the Union County Crime Stoppers.