This year has been Camden, N.J.’s worst for homicides – 67 as of Thursday. The worst previous year was 1995, with 58. The Philadelphia Inquirer says it has been an unusually trying year for homicide investigators, with sleuths from the prosecutor’s office working in teams with city detectives. “I would use one word – relentless. It’s been relentless,” said Sgt. Eric Rios, 48, with the Camden County prosecutor’s homicide unit.
The prosecutor’s office gave the Inquirer a rare behind-the-scenes view of their efforts. It showed overstretched teams doggedly pursuing leads and potential witnesses in each case – and being rewarded in one with an unusually quick breakthrough. Most homicide victims this year have been adult men killed by gunshot, connected to drugs or gangs. The victims also have included, in quick succession, 2-year-old Zahree Thomas – decapitated by his mother, who then committed suicide – and 6-year-old Dominick Andujar, killed by a family acquaintance.