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News

One Dead In Series Of Somerset County Shootings That Ended In High-Speed Chase, 4 In Custody

Gavin M. Owens-Jones, 18, and Jeffrey J. Grant Jr., 19.
Gavin M. Owens-Jones, 18, and Jeffrey J. Grant Jr., 19. Photo Credit: Somerset County Prosecutor's Office

Four people were taken into custody with a fifth at large after a high-speed pursuit and crash as the result of a series of shootings that left one person dead in Somerset County, authorities said.

The first of the three shootings occurred around 4:40 p.m. Dec. 30, where multiple shots were fired at a Barker Road home, Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson said in a joint release.

There was one person inside who was not injured, although the house was damaged in the incident, authorities said.

The following day just before 2:30 a.m., a 70-year-old male resident on King Road suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, authorities said. Responding police found several spent shell casings on the street, and the man was taken to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries, police said.

Just before 3:30 p.m., police responded to a third 9-1-1 call reporting multiple shots fired near Churchill Avenue, according to authorities.

A 19-year-old man later identified as Samaad Frazier was found with gunshot wounds in a car behind a house on Churchill Avenue, Robertson and Fodor said. 

First responders performed life-saving medical aid before Frazier was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to police. An autopsy is pending.

The suspect vehicle lead police on a high-speed chase down Hamilton and Berry streets, where police attempted to stop the car, authorities said.

The vehicle continued speeding down local streets before crashing at the intersection of Easton and Oakland avenues, police said.

All five occupants fled on foot, and three were taken into custody by responding officers. The first to be caught -- Gavin M. Owens-Jones, 18, of Franklin Township -- was armed with a semi-automatic handgun, which he dropped at the demands of police officers, authorities said.

The other two suspects caught Dec. 31 were identified as Jeffrey J. Grant Jr., 19, of Somerset, and a 16-year-old male from Somerset, only named as I.S.

A fourth suspect identified as another 16-year-old male named as T.H., was arrested on Jan. 2, authorities said.

"The investigation into the identity and whereabouts of the fifth suspect remains on-going by detectives assigned to the investigation," Fodor and Robertson said. "The circumstances as they relate between all three shootings and a possible motive remains active."

Owens-Jones was charged with murder, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and eluding by flight. Grant was charged with murder and eluding by flight. The pair were lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a bail detention hearing.

Juvenile I.S. was charged with fourth-degree eluding and released to a family member pending a family court appearance. Juvenile T.H. was charged with first-degree murder and lodged at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center pending a family court appearance.  

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