Police Make Arrest In Gang-Related Christmas Shooting

UNION – A 16-year-old Elizabeth youth was arrested last Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder in the Dec. 26, 2008 shooting death of Jean D’Haiti outside Skate 22 in Union Township, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office announced last week.

Officials did not release the name of the teen because he is a minor, however prosecutors are seeking a waiver to charge him as an adult. He is currently being held without bail at the Juvenile Detention Center.

Approximately 700 people gathered at the Union skating rink for a party the night after Christmas. It was scheduled to go from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., but ended early because numerous fights broke out inside the rink, officials said.

Around midnight, a fight between two groups of teens escalated and shots were fired. D’Haiti, 16, of Elizabeth was killed at the scene.

Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow said the shooting sprung from an altercation between the Bloods and a group of Haitian youths. “I consider this a gang-related crime,” he said. “The shooter is involved in a set of the Bloods and based on information gathered by our Gang Intelligence Unit and Homicide Task Force, he was with fellow gang members on the night of the shooting.”

Union Township revoked the skating rink’s license after the shooting, and a state Superior Court judge ruled last week that the rink must remain closed until after the legal proceedings are concluded. Attorneys representing the township said that police visited the skating rink more than 500 times last year.

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