Essex County jury convicts Newark man of murder

NEWARK, NJ — Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II announced Jan. 13 that an Essex County jury has convicted Zahir “Peewee” Moore, 22, of Newark, of first-degree murder for the 2019 shooting and killing of 19-year-old Waleik McCollum, also of Newark.

On Sept. 29, 2019, Moore shot at McCollum nine times with a .40 caliber handgun in the area of Brookdale and Lindsey avenues in Newark. McCollum was struck twice, including a gunshot wound to the head. He survived for more than 24 hours and was able to identify his shooter as “Peewee” before dying from his injuries. Prior to the murder, Moore had been observed on surveillance video searching for McCollum and lingering outside his residence.

Following a four-day trial before Superior Court Judge Patrick Arre, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts, convicting Moore on one count of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24 before Arre. Moore faces 30 years to life in New Jersey State Prison for the murder conviction.

Assistant Prosecutor Jason Goldberg said the verdict would not have been possible if not for the brave community members who stepped forward and said “no” to the senseless violence on their doorsteps.

“The victim’s family waited a long time for justice,” said Goldberg, who tried the case along with Assistant Prosecutor Christina McGinnis. “Thanks to the courage of those who testified and the swift efforts of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Homicide Task Force and Newark’s Shooting Response Team, justice has finally been served.”