Gloucester man killed; five face first-degree murder charges

by Tom Chillemi

LOCUST HILL—Five individuals are facing first degree murder charges following the shooting death of a Gloucester man on Saturday night at Locust Hill.

According to Major M.E. Sampson of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, at 11:52 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call to respond to 5046 General Puller Highway at Locust Hill in reference to a party with under-aged persons and the smell of marijuana. The caller, who wished to remain anonymous, stated there were male subjects from Lancaster County who were trying to start a fight. Moments later another 911 call was received from the same address stating that someone had been shot. Deputies arrived on scene and discovered an 18-year-old male with a gunshot wound to his torso. Deputies performed CPR on the shooting victim, who was later identified as Elijah Baker of Gloucester County. Baker later died.

Detectives and members of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office worked through the night and well into the next evening. Detectives have identified five individuals of the group and have sought first-degree murder warrants for suspects that include Kemonte Deshaune Smith, 18, of White Stone, who was arrested on Monday, March 25.

Juvenile petitions have been obtained against four juveniles including Tariq Joel Beane, 16, of Thrasher Court in Merry Point, who is charged with first degree murder, felony use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and a misdemeanor for brandishing or pointing a firearm. Only Beane remains at large, Sampson said.

Three other unnamed juvenile males are all charged with first-degree murder by mob. Two of the juveniles were arrested March 25 and the other juvenile was arrested Tuesday morning, March 26.

This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information pertaining to this case please contact Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office Crime Line at 758-5600.