EO man arrested for homicide of Irvington woman in Orange

Darren Black, 37, of East Orange, has been arrested and charged with the murder of Shafequa Cooper, 38, of Irvington.

IRVINGTON, NJ — The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has arrested a suspect in connection with the Friday, Aug. 17, homicide of a woman whose body was dumped on Krotik Place in Irvington and originally identified as the township’s fifth homicide of the year. It was later revealed she had actually been killed in Orange.

On Tuesday, Sept. 18, acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens and Irvington police Director Tracy Bowers announced that Darren Black, 37, of East Orange, has been arrested and charged with the murder of Shafequa Cooper, 38, of Irvington.

“Cooper was killed on Aug. 17,” said Stephens on Tuesday, Sept. 18. “The preliminary investigation indicates the murder occurred in the area of Valley Street and Argyle Avenue in Orange. The victim’s body was discovered by a motorist on Krokit Place in Irvington.”

“Black was arrested without incident in Princeton by detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide-Major Crimes Task Force and the FBI Fugitive Task Force,” Stephens added. “He has been charged with murder, concealment and removing human remains, illegal possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He is being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility. The investigation is active and ongoing.”

Former acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino and Bowers previously announced Friday, Aug. 17, that the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide-Major Crimes Task Force was investigating the fatal shooting of an unidentified female, later identified as Cooper. During the initial investigation, Bowers said evidence revealed Cooper had been killed in Orange and her body later dumped in Irvington.

“Turned out to be an Orange job,” said Bowers on Monday, Aug. 20.

“The woman’s body was discovered by a motorist at approximately 8:55 a.m., suffering from what appeared to be gunshot wounds,” said Laurino on Tuesday, Aug. 21. “The investigation is active and ongoing.”

Cooper’s homicide was added to Orange’s official tally for 2018 instead of to Irvington’s, so Irvington has seen only four homicides so far this year.

“It happened in Orange, but they dumped the body in Irvington off Chancellor Avenue and Krokit Place on the side of the old Irvington General Hospital site that’s not developed yet. No one hangs out on Chancellor and Krokit,” said Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss on Monday, Aug. 20. “It’s Orange, not us. That’s the second time that they have dumped a body in Irvington of a person that was killed somewhere else. It’s still sad that somebody lost their life.”

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