Nephew of Newark mayor among 3 wounded in fatal shooting Wednesday

By Naomi Nix and Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on March 19, 2015

NEWARK — One of four men shot in a deadly hail of gunfire in the city's South Ward Wednesday afternoon was the nephew of Mayor Ras Baraka.

According to multiple sources with knowledge of the incident, Jahquill Turner was wounded after shots rang out on the 200 block of Clinton Place around 2 p.m., and remains at University Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition.

Turner is the son of Baraka's brother, Obalaji Baraka, sources said.

Another man, 22-year-old James Elam, was killed in the shooting, and two others were also wounded in the incident, which Newark Police Director Eugene Venable has said was is believed to be part of an internal dispute within the 793 Bloods street gang.

No arrests have been made in the shootings, and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office has maintained that no definitive motive has been established.

Newark officials, however, responded strongly one day after the mayor touted a significant dip in the city's crime rate during his first State of the City address Tuesday night.

Venable said Elam was a reputed member of the 793 Bloods, who had been both a victim and suspect in separate shootings last year. He added that the other victims, who have not been identified by authorities, were affiliated with Elam.

"These are not random shootings," he said.

Baraka also addressed the incident Wednesday, saying that the city's crime rate remained down across the board since he took office in July, and promising to "make every effort to bring the suspects in this incident to justice, and they will be held fully accountable."

When asked today about his nephew's wounding, the city issued a statement saying the incident was far from the first time violence had touched Baraka's family.

A sister, Shani Baraka, was shot and killed during a domestic violence-related incident in 2003. A younger brother has also been shot in the head, but managed to survive.

"Tragedy has touched his family before in this manner. This just emphasizes his plan to fight crime," it said.

"It is unfortunate that these things happen and we pray for those who were involved in the incident. However, the law has been violated, there is a price to pay and those who commit crimes will be held fully accountable."

A message left for Obalaji Baraka was not immediately returned this afternoon.

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