Trenton N.J. – Mayor W. Reed Gusciora has released the following statement with regard to the violence in Trenton over the past weekend:
“Yesterday was Palm Sunday, yet it was anything other than peaceful in the Capital City. In at least four separate incidents of gun violence, there were 8 people shot and 2 are dead. I realize that while the Governor’s Stay at Home Order and social distancing protocol is being followed by most Trentonians, too many took to the parks and streets without regard to the public’s health and well-being. Moreover, much of the violence can be attributed to unlawful ATV riders, who in at least one incident utilized them in the shootings.
These reckless acts not only endanger the public welfare and safety of innocent persons living in Trenton, but also can hasten the chances of spreading COVID-19 in our community. We see too many young persons congregating on street corners, ignoring park closures, and crowding corner stores and delis. Too many lives are at stake to allow this activity to continue.
While our first responders are working at full capacity, this reckless and foolish behavior must end. Too many lives depend on the enforcement of the Governor’s Order and my expanded Emergency Declaration powers to maintain public safety and the health of our community. We simply do not have enough hospital beds if our containment efforts fail for the further spread of COVID-19.
Accordingly, the City of Trenton is issuing a mandatory 8:00 PM curfew within the City limits. That includes all persons (who are not working) and businesses within the Capital City. Restaurants, corner stores, and gas stations must shut down at 8 pm. People’s lives are at risk. This is not an easy decision. But my job as your mayor is to do everything in my power to protect the men, women, and children in our City.
In addition, utilizing Emergency Authority, any businesses including gas stations and corner stores that remain open past 8pm or cannot not control social distancing and sanitary guidelines, will be immediately shut down for the remainder of this pandemic.
Further, any gas station that services gas to anything other than a licensed and registered vehicle that is allowed to operate on the road, will be immediately shut down. In addition, it will be illegal for anyone to park or publicly possess an off-road vehicle; and such ATVs will be confiscated. This is the time to keep it in a garage or shed and not start it up or keep it in the open.
In the meantime, I will be submitting to Council on an emergent basis two legislative proposals to codify the State’s recent law allowing the confiscation of off-road vehicles and increase fines for violation of the City’s Emergency Powers.
This is not a time for politics or blame, but the public’s health and safety is of paramount importance. We grateful for everyday Trentonians who are adhering to the Governor’s Stay-At- Home Order and social distancing guidelines set out by our public health experts. We have had a tremendous outpouring of support from community groups, from churches, from non-profits, and from the private sector; all united in helping us fight a silent and invisible disease that is trampling through our streets. I am especially proud of our First Responders, the Police, Fire and EMS workers who risk their health to protect our City; our Trenton Health Team and our own Department of Health practitioners who are stepping up to prevent the further spread of this virus.
But still some in our community wish to resort to violence during this crisis. There are some who aim to take advantage of this situation. There are some are bringing their own selfish and petty disputes to the open, and actively endangering the lives of others to that end.
Unless you have a genuine emergency or are reporting to a job that Governor Murphy has deemed necessary, no Trentonian should be outside their home past 8:00 PM.
Our first responders, on top of dealing on the front lines of COVID-19, are now dedicating all possible resources to needless carnage that took place this past weekend. We will not allow this to be a flashpoint. We cannot allow this violence to continue unabated through our streets and in our homes.
I hope we take this Easter Week to further reflect on our moral values, how each citizen can contribute to our efforts to protect the health and safety of our City. Please reach out to us to prevent further violence; give our police or City Hall a call when you see this illegal activity and those that selfishly violate expected social norms. In order to combat the further spread of this pandemic to our City, please stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home.
Thank you for your cooperation and support for our public health and safety efforts in our City. “
PRESS CONTACT: Connor S. Ilchert
Office: (609) 989-3047
Cell: (609) 310-0299