The number for Jersey City varied as the week went on, as a new murder occurred Wednesday night, and an older murder was determined to have been an accident.
Just as troubling as the murders themselves is the rise in murders in Jersey City. Last year for the whole year, there were 35 Hudson County homicides, 23 of which occurred in Jersey City. In 2003, there were 37 homicides with 24 taking place in Jersey City.
But as of Oct. 30 of this year, those numbers already have been exceeded.
Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said last week that for the year so far, homicides were down in all Hudson County municipalities except in Jersey City.
When asked if he was concerned about the increase, he said, "I'm concerned about any homicide, but there's not much that law enforcement can do, especially those that happen in the home."Three robberies within an hour
The number of murders in the city went up and down last week due to new information and a violent string of robberies in the middle of the week.
On Wednesday night, three separate attempted armed robberies occurred in Jersey City, and one resulted in the death of Superior Markets deli clerk Nabil Sharoubin, 41, an Egyptian immigrant.
Even though the robberies were within an hour of each other, DeFazio said they were by separate individuals. Wednesday night around 8:30 p.m., two masked men burst into the deli on Jewett Avenue and asked Nabil Sharoubin for money. Sharoubin was shot and killed, leaving a wife and baby in Egypt.
Fifteen minutes later, two different armed, masked men tried to rob Stuyvesant Liquors on Kennedy Blvd., but they ran out when a customer entered the store.
"We don't believe the [two robberies] are related," said DeFazio. "There was a different description and a different weapon used. Mr. Sharoubin was apparently shot with a revolver. The gun used at the liquor store on Kennedy Boulevard was a sawed-off shotgun."
DeFazio said both men in the first robbery had revolvers. Fifteen minutes after the second incident, a man tried to rob Bergen Liquors at Bergen and Ege avenues. The man told the cashier he had a gun, although he did not display one. The cashier was behind bulletproof glass and refused to give him money.
"There's no rational basis for linking those, and there's no explanation," DeFazio said. Triple murder suspect caught
Meanwhile, there was some positive news last week, as fugitive Dwayne Wilson was apprehended at a New York hospital.
Wilson, 38, of Jersey City, is the suspect in the Sept. 20 slayings of his sister Marcy, 31 and her son and daughter Dartagania Wilson, 12, and De'Quan Wilson, 11 in their Wegman Parkway apartment. A third child, son Paris, 9, survived the stabbing.
DeFazio said Wilson faces three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, along with additional charges. Thursday, Jersey City police received a tip that Wilson was in Cabrini Medical Center on East 19th Street in Manhattan. He had gone to the hospital using a false name, DeFazio said.
"The Jersey City Police Department received information from a concerned citizen that they passed on," DeFazio said. "The U.S. Marshals' New York/New Jersey Fugitive Task Force took the action and arrested Mr. Wilson at the hospital."
DeFazio said he could not reveal why Wilson was there. "He is being held in New York," DeFazio said. "At this point we're not sure when he will be returned to Hudson County."
DeFazio commended the work of all of the law enforcement agencies involved. Alleged gang member still at large after murder
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Juan Batista's killer are still unknown. Batista, 26, of Laidlaw Avenue, was shot numerous times in the back and head on Oct. 19 shortly before 8:30 p.m. near the corner of Palisades and Hutton Avenues. The suspect in the shooting is Joseph Moreira, 24, of Marshall Drive in Hoboken.
According to DeFazio, Moreira allegedly approached Batista, there were words exchanged, and then Moreira produced a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and started firing. Batista was pronounced dead at the scene.
DeFazio said that Moreira is still at-large and is considered armed and dangerous. DeFazio, in an Oct. 23 article on Batista's death, responded when asked if the murder may have been gang-related, "That was a reasonable assumption under the circumstances."
Moreira's nickname is "King Megs" and is believed to be a Latin Kings member, but this has not been confirmed.
DeFazio also said Batista had served time in jail for previous offenses. Batista served time between January 1998 and April 2000 for distribution of drugs, but it is not known if he was in an organized gang.
DeFazio said Moreira previously resided in North Bergen and Union City and is known to have frequented the Heights section of Jersey City.
The search for Moreira is being carried out by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office in collaboration with the Jersey City Police Department, the U.S. Marshal Service, and the NJ State Police Anti-Gang Unit.
DeFazio said anyone with information should call (201) 915-1345.
"King Megs should be considered armed and dangerous," he said. Last weekend's homicide/fire
According to DeFazio, there was a suspected homicide two weeks ago in a Forrest Street apartment, before the unit was set on fire.
Last week, a suspect was arrested in the connection with the fire at 366 Forrest St. that broke out after 1 a.m. last Sunday morning. Benjamin Joseph Wilson III, 21, of Union Street in Jersey City, surrendered in the company of his father to Hudson County homicide investigators on Monday. He was charged with murder of an unidentified male, whose body was found by firefighters fighting the blaze.
DeFazio said the victim was found shot once in the head, and was believed to have been murdered before the fire was started. The gun used in the shooting has not been recovered.
DeFazio said it is believed that the fire was set deliberately to cover up the murder. He said it started on a bed, but no accelerants were found at the scene. The fire also left 12 people homeless, but no one else was reported hurt.
Wilson is currently being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny. 'Fall' no longer murder
Also last week, DeFazio announced that Michael McKittrick, 45, of Union City, died on Oct. 21, 16 days after he was found by Jersey City police lying on the ground near the driveway of the Jersey City Parking Authority building on Central Avenue.
DeFazio said McKittrick, a former Jersey City resident, died in University Hospital in Newark. McKittrick died as the result of complications due to cranial fracture. At first, it was thought that McKittrick's injury was due to a fall. Then, the severity of his skull fractures made investigators believe it was due to aggravated assault.
But witnesses and reviews of security camera images led to DeFazio confirming toward the end of last week that the man had died of a fall. Officials said he had a high blood alcohol level when he died. One witness told a local daily newspaper that the victim was resting on a bench and fell off and hit the ground.
The investigation is closed unless they receive new information, DeFazio told the local newspaper. Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com