High school student’s daylight murder in Irvington highlights larger problem with gun violence, residents say

IRVINGTON, NJ — He was just a teen in high school, fatally gunned down right after class let out Wednesday.  Now, a police search remains underway for his killer, but the death of Marquise Jenkins, 18, is raising calls for change in this city where gun violence seems to be far too common.

Jenkins is being remembered as a young man who had apparently left some street rivalries in neighboring Newark, according to fellow students who knew him, for the prospect of a new life in Irvington.

"He was nice, [a] nice kid," said the owner of the bodega on the corner of Clinton and Linden Avenues, where Jenkins was shot, around 3:00 p.m. Wednesday.  "He'd come into the store every day."

The bodega owner did not want her name to be used in this article, but she said she did want Jenkins to be remembered favorably. The last time he was seen alive was on surveillance video recorded at her store as he was being gunned down by another young man, wearing a white hoodie under a blue jacket.

"We was crying a lot," the bodega owner said.  "Nice kid.  [We] tried to give him a hand, but it was too late."

Police were out in force on Thursday, both outside Irvington High School, where Jenkins was a student, and at the shooting scene -- especially when school let out.

Additional social workers were also brought to the school on Thursday, according to the school's principal.

Students who said they knew Jenkins, but did not want to be identified, told PIX11 News that the shooting may have stemmed from past rivalries Jenkins had in Newark before moving to Irvington, the town next door, months ago.

"They need to take that somewhere else," said D. Mack, an Irvington resident whose mother lives in the house in front of which the shooting took place. People should "not be shooting in front of people's houses like that. That's it."

Mack echoed what other people in this city of 55,000 said. They feel that Marquise Jenkins's killing is part of a greater crisis.

"Y'all need to stop, brothers," said a resident who only gave her first name, Connie.  "Stop killing each other," she continued.  "Stop, stop. We need you. We need you out here.  Stop."

On Thursday, at around 9:30 a.m., there was another shooting, about 10 blocks from the one that killed Jenkins. That shooting was not fatal, and was just over the town line, in Newark.  Still, it underscored the problem.

The search for Jenkins’s killer is still underway. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office reports no arrests at this time.

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