Newark’s annual motorcycle event didn’t go as planned this year as a New Jersey Blessing Of The Bikes motorcycle event leaves one dead, and three wounded this afternoon. Essex County Prosecutor said that a 15-year-old boy, Al-Shakeen Woodson, was pronounced dead at a Newark hospital. Three others suffered injuries Sunday evening when gun shots rang out at Newark, New Jersey’s annual “Blessing of the Bikes” event, according to reports.NewarkNewark
The NJ Advance Media reported that investigators examined the crime scene after gunfire rocked the area of 19th Avenue and S. 16th Street in the South Ward at about 7:45 p.m. The three injured victims received treatment for nonlife-threatening injuries at a nearby hospital. Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder (Marquise Cephus, 18, and Jaqeuce Spinks, 19, and two minors). Cephus and Spinks have been charged in connection to the event. Suspects don’t appear to have any relationship with the Knights MC. Didn’t anyone teach these guys that, “Black Lives Matter”?
“Blessing Of The Bikes” is an annual event to kick off the riding season for the Newark Knights MC. This year, hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts had congregated outside the Springfield Avenue clubhouse for the event, a Mother’s Day tradition.
One news source said people in attendance were watching bikers performing riding tricks when two of the attendees pulled out weapons and fired into the crowd of thousands. However, later reports said that the biker gathering had partially disbursed before the shots were fired. Officers with the Newark Police Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for an official account of the incident, and there was no answer to a call to the Knights’ clubhouse Sunday night.
The event was filled with chaos and dangerous situations. Very limited authority was on hand. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka told reporters that this incident showed the need for more officers to patrol the streets. “We don’t have enough officers to maintain an event of this magnitude,” Baraka said, according to WABC of Newark, “and so we can’t have events like this until we’re prepared to deal with them.” It’s unfortunate that a young man had to die today, and it’s likely that the chaos of the day caused the event that took his life. If the gathering had been more organized and responsibly run, the shooting might not have occurred.
The Newark Knights MC had warned attendees the previous day to behave, and adamantly stated that the Newark Knights motorcycle club members were not involved.
The boy’s parents, Sherkimea Zigler and Rajauan Woodson said their son had just wanted to watch the bikes at the event. Unfortunately, tragedy could have been avoided with more order, and the nation wouldn’t be reading a headline reading the tragic words “New Jersey Blessing Of The Bikes Motorcycle Event Leaves One Dead”.