Man shot dead in Linden, alleged killer charged

Shansey Abernathy of Linden (Photo credit: Union County Prosecutor’s Office)

Linden police identified Shansey Abernathy, 23, as a suspect in connection with the shooting death of Alphonso Pearson, 27, who was killed Wednesday.

A warrant charged Abernathy with murder and two weapons-related offenses associated to the shooting that killed Pearson, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s office.

Linden police officers were called to the 800 block of Cleveland Avenue for a report of a shooting, shortly after 12:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The officers found Pearson suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest outside of his home.

Pearson was transported to Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth but he was pronounced dead soon after he arrived at the hospital.

An investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit and Linden Police Department identified Abernathy as the suspect.

Abernathy turned himself in to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday. He is being held in the Union County Jail pending a first appearance in Superior Court, which is expected to take place Friday morning.

This appears to be the first murder in Linden this year and Mayor Derek Armstead’s administration is being credited with solving the case quickly.

The city had no homicides reported last year but local officers were credited with apprehending Ahmad Khan Rahami, the Elizabeth resident who was wanted in connection with several bombings in New York and New Jersey.

Armstead recently announced that Capt. David Hart, a 30-year veteran of the force, will be the next chief of the Linden Police Department, succeeding Police Chief Jonathan Parham, who is retiring Dec. 31 after 25 years of service.

“Dave’s many years of experience, particularly in planning and emergency response; street patrol; coupled with police and community partnerships make him the ideal candidate to lead at this time,” Armstead said. “I am confident Dave will continue building on the improvements we have seen throughout the police department.”

Police in Union County have solved ten of 16 murder cases so far this year, according to official reports.

Four of Elizabeth’s 7 slayings this year and one of four killings in Plainfield have been solved. Two homicides have been reported and solved in each of Roselle and Union.

Statewide, there have been 257 reported murders this year and only about half have been solved by police. In recently years, only about half of the murders reported in New Jersey have been getting solved.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Union County Prosecutor’s office Homicide Task Force Sgt. Jose Vendas at (908) 358-3048.

The Union County Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case.

Tips can be given anonymously by phone at (908) 654-TIPS, via text by texting UCTIP and a message to 274637 (CRIMES) or online at

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