Five alleged Jersey City gang members have been charged with the 2020 murders of a rival gang member and a 17-year-old bystander, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Shaquan Rush, aka “Nut” and “Sha,” 21; Darby Shirden, aka “GoHard” and “GH,” 21; and Jeremy Perez, aka “Smoov” and “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” and “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.
Rush, Shirden, Perez, Tutten, and Witherspoon are all associated with neighborhood-based street gangs in Jersey City – specifically the Rutgers Enterprise – a street gang that operates in the area of Rutgers Avenue and Triangle Park, according to the criminal complaint.
On April 1st, 2020, in retaliation for the murder of a high-ranking Rutgers Enterprise gang member on March 31, 2020, Rush, Shirden, and Perez traveled to the territory of rival gang SaLaf – 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 SaLaf 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 4th, 2020, in retaliation for an attempted shooting on April 3rd, 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.
Sellinger credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Jersey City Police Department, and special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 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.