Last of five suspects arrested in connection with Elizabeth robbery-turned-murder

The last wanted suspect among a group of five defendants charged in connection with an armed robbery at an Elizabeth supermarket that resulted in a homicide last fall has been located and arrested, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Wednesday.

Shaquille John, 19, who fled the state following the fatal shooting of 57-year-old Richard Smith of Elizabeth, was apprehended Tuesday in Atlanta by members of the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force. John, 18-year-old Jean Horace, 23-year-old Myles Sneed, 27-year-old Michael Atkinson, and 27-year-old Jihad Watson, all Elizabeth residents, are charged with first-degree felony murder and first-degree robbery.

It was approximately 8:40 p.m. on October 19, 2014 when three masked men entered the MF Supermarket on the 400 block of Jackson Avenue in Elizabeth in an apparent robbery attempt, according to the investigation. Following a brief struggle, the owner of the store was shot and injured while Smith, who was at work repainting the interior of the store at the time, was fatally shot.

Following an intensive joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Elizabeth Police Department, the five defendants were identified as suspects in the case. All but John were arrested during the span of a week in December 2014.

Bail was set at $2 million for Watson and $1 million apiece for the other four defendants.

Convictions on felony murder charges typically carry penalties of 30 years to life in state prison.  

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