ELIZABETH—The Union County Homicide Task Force is investigating the shooting death of a 31-year-old Elizabeth man who was killed on Monday night.
Police found Rahssan J. Holmes in the bedroom of a Fairmount Avenue apartment suffering from gunshot wounds at about 11:30 p.m., according to Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
Holmes was later pronounced dead at the scene and the investigation was taken over by the homicide task force, a unit formed last year by the Union County Prosecutor in response to a large number of unsolved murders in Elizabeth.
Previously, homicides were handled jointly by local police departments and investigators from the prosecutor’s office.
According to the state corrections department, Holmes served time in prison from Sept. 10, 1999 until Aug. 23, 2001 on charges of receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and weapons possession.
Authorities did not say whether Holmes’ slaying was gang related, but at the time he formed the task force Romankow said, “There is a serious gang problem in Elizabeth, and Elizabeth is ignoring it.”
When he launched the task force in September 2008, Romankow pointed out that Mayor Christian Bollwage’s administration was the only municipality in New Jersey that failed to respond to a gang survey conducted by the State Police in 2007.
John Holl, a spokesperson for Romankow, said he could not speak about the administration but declared that city law enforcement officials are now cooperating with the special unit.
Authorities are encouraging anyone with information regarding the case to contact Det. Steven Francisco of the Homicide Task Force at 1-908-527-4168.
Law enforcement officials said that anyone with information leading to the arrest and indictment for the person or persons responsible for the death of Rahssan J. Holmes can contact the Union County Crimestoppers for up to $5,000 in reward money.
Crimestoppers may be reached at 1-908-654-TIPS. All calls are kept anonymous and confidential.
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