The lone remaining fugitive out of a total of four defendants now charged in connection with a homicide and an exchange of gunfire with police on Easter Sunday in Elizabeth has been located and taken into custody, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Thursday.
Jonathan Philippe, 25, of Irvington was tracked by members of the U.S. Marshals Service and arrested in Irvington Thursday morning.
At approximately 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 1, a large group assembled outside Exotics Gentlemen’s Club located on the 1100 block of Elizabeth Avenue, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Spagnoli, who is prosecuting the case. A fight between members of the group broke out, and shots were fired into the air, Spagnoli said.
The crowd immediately dispersed, with several men – including Philippe, 22-year-old Pierre Cadet, 23-year-old Don LaFortune, and 26-year-old Sharif Q. Robinson – proceeding into a parking lot directly across the street from the club. At that point, Robinson allegedly produced a handgun and shot an unarmed man, 26-year-old Daniel Louis of Irvington, who was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Immediately after Louis was shot, the four aforementioned defendants became involved in a shootout in the parking lot, firing numerous rounds. At this point, two Elizabeth Police Department officers arrived at the scene on foot and witnessed the shootout in progress.
The officers advanced toward the shooters and were allegedly fired upon by both Cadet and Philippe. The patrolmen returned fire, but the two defendants were able to enter their car and, with Cadet driving, they fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Elizabeth Police Department patrol units gave chase into Newark, where the defendants were able to evade the officers, abandon the vehicle, and escape. The car was subsequently recovered, held, and processed for evidence.
During the course of the remainder of the day and into the night, investigators from the Union County Homicide Task Force and Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit and High Tech Unit, along with members of the Elizabeth Police Department, Union County Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Irvington Police Department, and Jersey City Police Department, continued to work on the case. As a result, Cadet and LaFortune were arrested on Tuesday, April 3 and lodged in Union County Jail. A week later, members of the U.S. Marshals Service located and apprehended Robinson at a relative’s home in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Robinson is charged with first-degree murder, a related second-degree weapons offense, and second-degree hindering apprehension. Cadet, LaFortune, and Philippe are all charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault, and a related second-degree weapons offense. Cadet is additionally charged with second-degree eluding police.
Anyone with information about this matter still is urged to contact Homicide Task Force Sgt. Johnny Ho at 908-403-8271 or Detective Danika Ramos at 908-451-7739.
Convictions on criminal charges of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of 20 years to life in state prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.