Newark citizens and civic leaders, already frustrated by relentless violence, are now trying to make sense of the execution-style slayings of three college students at a school playground there Saturday night, reports the city’s Star-Ledger. Four friends apparently were joined by at least five strangers as they ate, drank and listened to music in a school parking lot. Sensing danger, the students took out their cell phones. “There were text messages back and forth between the victims: ‘Let’s get out of here,'” Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy said. But it was already too late.
The attackers first shot a young woman, police said. They then marched the other three victims down an alley, lined them up against a wall and forced them to kneel, police said. Then they shot each one in the head. It was unclear whether the assailants were successful in stealing anything, police said. Authorities offered a $20,000 reward. “We are absolutely devastated and frustrated,” Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said, stressing that police regularly patrol in the area of the attack. “It’s not a lack of resources. It’s young people out there armed to the gills with no respect for human life.”