IRVINGTON, NJ — According to Mayor Tony Vauss, the township suffered its second homicide of the year on Sunday, March 24.
“We had two homicides so far this year,” said Vauss on Tuesday, April 2. “We can’t say much about them, due to the fact that they are currently under investigation by the Police Division and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. However, we can say that neither incident was a random act. It appears that both homicides were targeted killings, related to an ongoing dispute between suspects that were engaged in criminal activities that went sour. These were not random incidents and they don’t pose a threat to our average, law-abiding citizens that are not engaged in criminal activities.”
Vauss went on to say, however, that “any homicide is one too many” and criminal activity of any kind is unacceptable.
“We want our township and our community to be clean and safe,” Vauss said. “We don’t want anyone bringing violence into our town or thinking that it’s OK to come here and commit crimes. That’s unacceptable and that’s not what my administration is about.”
Essex County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Katherine Carter confirmed Irvington has had two homicides this year. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and its Major Crimes Taskforce handles all homicide investigations in Essex County.
“There have been two homicides in Irvington this year. Both have been reported in the press,” said Carter on Wednesday, April 10. “On March 20, Marquis Jenkins, 17, was fatally shot. On March 24, Zaveuxm Waynick, 20, was also fatally shot.” Both young men were Irvington residents.
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens and Irvington police Director Tracy Bowers announced Monday, March 25, that the county Prosecutor’s Office’s Homicide and Major Crimes Task Force is investigating the fatal shooting of Waynick.
“On Sunday, March 24, Waynick was fatally shot in the 100 block of Park Place in Irvington,” said Stephens on Monday, March 25. “He was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:39 p.m. The investigation is active and ongoing. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.”
Previously, Stephens and Bowers said the first homicide of the year had occurred Wednesday, March 20, in the middle of the day, just as schools were letting out. They said the county Prosecutor’s Office Homicide-Major Crimes Taskforce is also investigating the Jenkins homicide.
“Shortly before 3 p.m., Irvington police officers responded to the 1100 block of Clinton Avenue, on reports of a shooting,” said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly, of the Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit, on Wednesday, March 20. “Arriving units located the victim, who was suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. The victim was rushed to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead at 3:27 p.m.”
“This incident is being investigated by the Prosecutor’s Homicide Task Force, which includes detectives from the Irvington Police Department,” said Fennelly. “The investigation is active and ongoing. No further information is available at this time.”
“It’s a travesty, anytime someone loses their life for a senseless crime,” said Bowers on Wednesday, Jan. 2, when discussing the last homicide of 2018 on Monday, Dec. 24. “We had five homicides in 2018. In 2017 we had eight. In 2016 we had four. This year, we had an even lower number of crimes than the previous three years, which happened to be the lowest since 1970. That is a tremendous accomplishment.”