Exactly one year after the fatal shooting of an innocent bystander on an Elizabeth street corner, investigators are seeking information from the public that could help solve the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Elizabeth Police Department Chief Giacomo Sacca and Director Earl Graves jointly announced Friday.
The victim, Elizabeth resident Maria Victoria Colon, was 29.
On the evening of Thursday, March 5, 2020, members of the Elizabeth Police Department responded to New Seaport Liquors on the corner of 3rd Street and Magnolia Avenue and found Colon, who had sustained a gunshot wound to the upper body at that location, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Cleaver, who is prosecuting the case. An unresponsive Colon was rushed to Newark’s University Hospital in critical condition, but after regaining consciousness and entering a rehabilitation program, she went into cardiac arrest and died from her injuries on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
An investigation led by the Union County Homicide Task Force and assisted by members of the Elizabeth Police Department, Jersey City Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit determined that the gunfire that mortally injured Colon as she exited the liquor store was believed to have come from a white Toyota Camry that was seen leaving the crime scene immediately after the shooting, with three individuals inside. Elizabeth Police Department patrol units spotted the vehicle on U.S. Routes 1&9 North in Elizabeth moments later and pursued it over the Pulaski Skyway into Jersey City, where two of the three vehicle occupants were apprehended on St. Paul’s Avenue.
One of those two, 22-year-old Lamont Harris of Elizabeth, was charged with second-degree eluding police, and remains incarcerated in the Union County Jail. The second, Ayan Hardy-Ross, 20, also of Elizabeth, was charged with third-degree receiving stolen property (the Camry had been reported stolen in Linden). The third vehicle occupant remains unidentified and at large.
Both of these charges remain pending in Union County Superior Court, but to date no defendant has been charged in connection with the death of Ms. Colon.
The investigation has also determined that Ms. Colon is not believed to have been the intended target of the shooting.
“This was a senseless crime that cut short a young life,” acting Prosecutor Ruotolo said. “We are hopeful that someone with information will step forward and allow us to move closer to achieving justice for Ms. Colon and her friends and family.”
Investigators are urging anyone who may have been in the area of 3rd Street and Magnolia Avenue at the time of the shooting, or anyone who may have information about this matter, to please contact Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Danika Ramos at 908-451-7739 or Detective Brandon Lorenz at 908-337-3230. Tips can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at .
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.