Three city men were arrested on weapons charges Tuesday night, hours after 37-year-old Miguel Torres was shot and killed inside his 14th Ave. grocery store.
None of the arrested are believed to have been involved in Torres’s murder, but one of the suspects, Nijahmin Armstrong, was taken into custody just a few blocks away from the murder scene after what police said was a “violent” struggle.
Officers assigned to the Newark Police Department’s Gang Enforcement Unit were patrolling in the area when they encountered a group of three men on S. 12th Street near 14th Avenue. Officers spotted Armstrong, a 23-year-old city resident, who appeared startled by their presence and began adjusting an item in his waistband.
When officers approached, Armstrong ran, leading police on a brief chase to 24 Ashland St., police said. Armstrong reportedly struggled with police and at one point aimed a weapon at officers before he was subdued and arrested. Armstrong, who has prior drug arrests, was in possession of a 380-caliber gun, hollow-point bullets, five bags of marijuana and cash seized by police as drug proceeds.
He faces several charges, including unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possession of a prohibited weapon (the hollow point bullets), possession of a weapon while committing narcotics crimes, aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, possession with Intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a school and within 500 feet of public housing.
Also on Tuesday, shortly after 9 pm, officers patrolling along Clinton Avenue entered NY Fried Chicken and PIzza, 514 Clinton Ave., after observing Hassan Holmes, 21, inside behaving suspiciously. Holmes, of Newark, tried to leave the store through the back when officers entered, stuffing an object into his coat that was later found to be a loaded .380-caliber firearm. Holmes had been seen holding the gun earlier, according to reports received by police.
Holmes has been charged with several offenses, including unlawful possession of a weapon and for violating a law prohibiting felons from possessing weapons. Holmes has four prior felony convictions and a dozen prior arrests for offenses including eluding police, burglary, theft, resisting arrest, and narcotics related charges, police said.
A short time later, at 9:30 pm, a third city man, 21-year-old Lance Bunn, was arrested on weapons charges, after he was seen holding an object by plainclothes officers with the Special Investigations Unit. Bunn fled when officers approached him, allegedly dropping a .40-caliber gun near Littleton and 14th avenues as he ran. Bunn ran through several yards then struggled with police before being taken into custody at 264 Camden St. The gun was later found to be stolen, police said.
Bunn has been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, receiving stolen property and two counts of resisting arrest, as well as violating a law prohibiting felons from possessing firearms . Bunn has four prior felony convictions and six prior arrests for offenses including assault, resisting arrest, bail jumping, narcotics and weapons.
“The continued arrests of these violent and dangerous criminals will send a two pronged message to both our community and the criminal element. Through the dedicated and unwavering efforts of the men and women of the Newark Police Department we will continue to work with our residents to better ensure their safety and protection. We will not surrender to those who seek to disrupt and erode the quality of life in our city through lawlessness and senseless acts of violence,” Police Director Samuel DeMaio said.
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