NEWARK, N.J. – Five alleged members and associates of a neighborhood-based Jersey City, New Jersey, gang were charged for their roles in two gang-related shootings, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Shaquan Rush, aka “Nut,” aka “Sha,” 21; Darby Shirden, aka “GoHard,” aka “GH,” 21; and Jeremy Perez, aka “Smoov,” aka “JSmoov,” 23, all of Jersey City, are each charged by complaint with one count of murder in aid of racketeering, one count of attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and two counts of discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Devon Tutten, aka “Joker,” 24; and Tyree Witherspoon, aka “Surf,” aka “Sonny,” 29, both of Jersey City, were also each charged with one count of murder in aid of racketeering and one count of discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. The defendants will make their initial appearances at a date to be determined.
According to the complaint:
Rush, Shirden, Perez, Tutten, and Witherspoon are all associated with neighborhood-based street gangs in Jersey City – specifically, a street gang that operates in the area of Rutgers Avenue and Triangle Park.
On April 1, 2020, in retaliation for the murder of a high-ranking Rutgers Avenue gang member on March 31, 2020, Rush, Shirden, and Perez traveled to the territory of rival gang members that associate with the Salem Lafayette Apartments and opened fire on a group of people on the street. Two victims were shot: one individual associated with the Salem Lafayette street gang and a 17-year-old girl who was walking down the street. The girl died the following day as a result of her gunshot wound.
On April 4, 2020, in retaliation for an attempted shooting on April 3, 2020, Tutten and Witherspoon traveled to the territory of rival gang members that associate with Wilkinson Avenue and opened fire on a group of people on the street. An individual associated with the Wilkinson street gang was shot in the head and pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
The charge of murder in aid of racketeering activity carries a mandatory punishment of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. For their respective charges for discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, all five defendants face mandatory minimum terms of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life, which must run consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed on any other charges. For their respective charges for attempted murder in aid of racketeering, Rush, Shirden, and Perez also face additional terms of imprisonment of up to 10 years.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Esther Suarez; the Jersey City Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director James Shea; and special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews, with the investigation leading to the charges.
This investigation was conducted as part of the Jersey City Violent Crime Initiative (VCI). The VCI was formed in 2018 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Jersey City Police Department, for the sole purpose of combatting violent crime in and around Jersey City. As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate to strategize and prioritize the prosecution of violent offenders who endanger the safety of the community. The VCI is composed of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the ATF, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New Jersey Division, the U.S. Marshals, the Jersey City Police Department, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey State Parole, the Hudson County Jail, and the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center.
The case is being prosecuted by Desiree Grace, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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