Kevin K. Dawkins, 36, of East Commerce Street in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey, United States has been arrested by the Bridgeton Police Department. He is in custody at the Cumberland County jail in Bridgeton.
Dawkins, who stands 5’10” and weighs around 200 lbs., is a registered sex offender. His disposition date was on December 13, 2004.
The Bridgeton resident is accused of shooting 14 people who attended a birthday party at a residence on East Commerce Street in Fairfield Township, Cumberland County at around 11:50 p.m. on May 22, 2021. The township is a rural community outside of Bridgeton.
It has yet to be confirmed if the woman who owned the house threw a 1990s-themed party for her nephew was also shot. The oldest victim is 35 years old and the youngest is 19.
Two of the 14 victims died namely Kevin Elliott, 30, and Asia Hester, 25, who are both Bridgeton residents. Hester was a health care staffer was originally from Jamaica.
At around 1:30 a.m. on May 23, 2021, Bridgeton Police Department officers found Dawkins laying down beside a tree behind the Maplewood Gardens apartments just under three miles from the shooting scene with a .40-caliber Glock 23 model loaded with 22 bullets clutched in his right hand, NJ.com reported. Initially, he was charged with four gun charges, including unlawfully possessing a firearm, possessing a firearm for an unlawful purpose and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
On May 24, 2021, the Bridgeton Police Department added two more charges against Dawkins relating to having a gun as a felon convicted of a serious crime. His detention hearing will be on May 27, 2021.
One of the people who attended the party was Sunshine Carter, 44. She told the New York Post, “I was sitting on a chair talking to my daughter and a friend.”
“We were laughing,” Carter continued. “Next thing I knew, I hear shots fired, like 20 shots, then it stopped, then 10, 15 more. I didn’t know if they had to reload.”
“I didn’t know if it was two shooters, one shooter,” Carter added. “I was running for my dear life.”
According to other guests, the shooting stemmed from two local rival factions of young men called the South Side young boys and the North Side young boys.
“This was not a random act of violence,” The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted New Jersey attorney general Gurbir S. Grewal as saying. “This was a targeted attack.”