In marking the fifth anniversary of an incident in which a young Rahway entrepreneur was fatally shot in the downtown sneaker store he owned and managed, investigators are again asking members of the public to come forward with information as part of their continuing efforts to solve the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Rahway Police Chief John Rodger jointly announced Friday.
The known facts of the case are as follows:
At approximately 9:15 p.m. on Friday, February 26, 2016, members of the Rahway Police Department responded to the East Coast Boutique on the 1500 block of Irving Street and found 21-year-old Jamal “Mally” Gaines at that location, having sustained a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
A joint investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, the Rahway Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office’s Crime Scene Unit revealed that minutes before police first arrived at the scene, two people with their faces obscured by fabric accessed the store through a rear utility door, resulting in a physical struggle that ended when the fatal shot was fired. At that point, the two suspects ran out of the building the same way they came in, after which they were seen on surveillance footage sprinting down a rear alley, with one of the two exhibiting a pronounced limp.
The Prosecutor’s Office today is re-releasing a video clip pulled from that footage.
The suspect with the limp appeared to be wearing dark pants, light-colored sneakers, and a dark hooded sweatshirt with a light-colored patch on the left arm. The other suspect appeared to be wearing a lighter-colored hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and brown or beige shoes. Both brandished handguns.
“At a remarkably young age, Mr. Gaines was living the American Dream – owner and operator of a small business he felt deeply passionate about,” acting Prosecutor Ruotolo said. “But that dream and his life were cut short in senseless fashion, and we remain as firmly committed today as when the crime first happened to seek and find justice for him and his loved ones.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Ryan Kirsh at 908-347-1420. The Union County Crime Stoppers also are continuing to offer 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.