Irvington suffers second homicide of 2017

IRVINGTON, NJ — It was not until the middle of May that Irvington suffered its second homicide of the year.

“On Friday afternoon, May 12, around noon time, Dino Bermudez, 33, of Newark, was shot in his leg in the 300 block of Myrtle Avenue,” acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said Monday, May 15. “He was transported to University Hospital and died from his injuries yesterday at approximately 5:30 a.m. At this time, no arrests have been made. The investigation is active and ongoing.”

According to Murray and Irvington Police Director Tracy Bowers, the first homicide of 2017 was Saturday, Feb. 25, when Tajmiah Phillips, 31, of Newark, was murdered. That incident is still being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide-Major Crimes Task Force and the Irvington Police Department.

“Phillips was fatally shot at approximately 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at her home in the 100 block of Hillside Terrace,” said Murray on Monday, Feb. 2. “The investigation is active an ongoing. At this time, no arrests have been made.”

Although Irvington’s first homicide last year wasn’t until May, three more occurred in quick succession in October, to bring the annual total to four, still an improvement from previous years.

“We have the stats from 2000 all the way to now,” Mayor Tony Vauss said Tuesday, Nov. 15. “We were as high as 30 within that time frame — 30, 26, 25 in back-to-back years. Even my first year, when we got it down to 14, was tremendous from the year before.”

At his third annual State of the Township Address on Thursday, Jan. 26, Vauss was joined by Bowers in praising the record low number of homicides in 2016, announcing plans to carry that “positive trend” forward in 2017.

“We did good last year, but this year, we want to do even better,” said Vauss on Thursday, Jan. 26. “Our goal every year is to have zero homicides, because even one homicide is one too many.”