New Brunswick Man Charged With Felony Murder

NEW BRUNSWICK — A city man was charged with felony murder Friday following an attempt to rob a 19-year-old man who was fatally shot, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Anthony A. Caputo, director of the New Brunswick Police Department, announced.

Dawonne Cooper, 22, was charged during an on-going investigation into the fatal shooting of Joshua Zhou, 19, of New Brunswick.

An investigation by Detective Kenneth Abode of the New Brunswick Police Department and Investigator Scott Crocco of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that Cooper intended to rob the victim, who was shot while he was at a house on Robinson Street in New Brunswick.

The investigation showed that Cooper targeted the victim, and that the shooting was not random, authorities said.

Cooper is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, which was set Friday afternoon by Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves in New Brunswick. The judge said Cooper must post the full amount before he can be released from custody.

The investigation began on Sept. 27 when police received a 911 call at 9:27 p.m., alerting them to the shooting.

The victim was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced dead at 10:26 p.m.

An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the victim died from gunshot wounds to the torso.

Anyone with information about the fatal shooting is asked to call Detective Abode of the New Brunswick Police Department at 1-732-745-5200, or Investigator Crocco of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-732-745-4471.

The charges against Cooper are merely accusations; he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

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