Survivor of Newark Shootings Helps Police Find Killer

NEWARK, N.J. – Less than a week after an unknown suspect shot four students outside an elementary school, police might finally have a lead on the killer’s identity with information from the one surviving victim.

On the night of Aug. 4, 19-year-old Natasha Aeriel was shot with her younger brother and two of her friends in Mount Vernon School Yard. According to Aeriel, the only one to survive the attack, the killer shot her first. The other three were forced to kneel against a wall and shot at close range in the back of the head. She was found later that night slumped near the bleachers.

On Aug. 8, a spokeswoman from the mayor’s office confirmed reports that Aeriel had been able to help police identify a suspect. Officials also believe security cameras outside the school may have been vandalized in the 24 hours preceding the attack.

Technicians found two cameras hanging by their wires on the side of the school where the shootings took place. A security guard who performed a routine check the night before reported nothing wrong with the cameras. Newark School District security director Willie Freeman speculated that the killers could have thrown something at the cameras to knock them off their brackets.

The three deceased victims were Dashon Harvey, 20, Iofemi Hightower, 20, and Aeriel’s brother Terrance, 18. All four were planning to attend Delaware State University in the fall.

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