A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts on all charges against a former Elizabeth resident who fled overseas after killing a man in a drive-by shooting nearly seven years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Jennifer Davenport announced Friday.
Eslam Gad, 30, was convicted of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and two related weapons offenses following a nearly month-long trial before state Superior Court Judge Candido Rodriguez Jr. and a brief period of jury deliberation spread over two days.
Several minutes before midnight on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, the victim, 21-year-old Anthony Holmes Jr. of Pemberton Township (Burlington County), was in the area of 3rd and Pine streets in the Elizabethport neighborhood with a relative and several friends when a person later identified as Gad fired numerous gunshots out the window of a red Ford Mustang, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Bruce Holmes and Diana Marie Laventure, who prosecuted the case.
The shooting victim, who was not believed to have been the intended target, was struck by gunfire and rushed to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead early the next day, Holmesand Laventure said. No one else was injured or killed as a result of the shooting, but two other individuals were in the immediate proximity of the victim when gunshots rang out, and two vehicles and a private residence were also struck by gunfire.
An intensive joint investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, Union County Sheriff’s Office, and Elizabeth Police Department resulted in Gad being identified as a suspect in the case, and criminal complaints were filed against him in Superior Court in late August 2012, several days after he had fled the country.
In October 2012, investigators filed a Blue Notice with INTERPOL asking that the intergovernmental police organization trace and locate Gad. Then, in November 2016, members of the Prosecutor’s Office were notified that INTERPOL had obtained a provisional arrest warrant for Gad, who was located and apprehended in Manchester, England with the assistance of the U.S. State Department and the Greater Manchester Police.
Gad was subsequently extradited back to New Jersey to await trial.
Also assisting with the investigation and arrest were members of the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Justice Department, and U.S. Marshals Service. The Prosecutor’s Office would like to thank all of them, as well as the numerous officers who assembled the case and testified at trial, including retired Lt. Michael Gorman, formerly of the Kean University Police Department and Union County Homicide Task Force; current Task Force Lt. Jose Vendas and Detective Sean Holcomb; and Sgt. Paul Ciccotti, Sgt. Scott Pevonis(retired), and Detective James Heller, all of the Elizabeth Police Department.
Sentencing for Gad has been scheduled for Friday, August 16, 2019 before Judge Rodriguez, at which time he will face a term of 30 years to life in state prison.