PATERSON, N.J. — Police in Paterson are investigating after a firearm was confiscated from a 15-year-old near an elementary school.
According to officials, it happened Tuesday when Paterson police officers on foot patrol were working nearby and heard shots fired. The officers responded to the area near Public School 6 on Carroll Street.
Cops apprehended the teenage suspect and confiscated the weapon.
“That scares the daylights out of me you know that’s something from a war zone,” one resident told PIX11 News. “How the hell did that make it through our community?”
That question is now being asked by many in the community including Mayor Andre Sayegh.
“It’s frightening to know that that type of firearm is on the streets and a 15-year-old had it,” he said.
Mayor Sayegh is praising the quick thinking officers who averted what he says would’ve been a disaster.
While authorities continue to investigate the incident, officials are coming to terms with what’s shaping up to be a violent year in Paterson.
“Guns are becoming more available,” Mayor Sayegh explained. “It’s proliferating Paterson and other urban areas and that’s why you are seeing an uptick in gun violence.”
It was just last week city officials addressed that uptick after a double shooting at Eastside Park.
A few days after that, another shooting left one person dead.
So far in 2021 there have been at least 45 shootings citywide, far ahead of where the city was this time last year with just 28 shootings.
“It’s just ridiculous, all the shootings,” resident Patricia Pipkin said. “There’s no solving it, it just makes more problems because one person is going to keep coming back for the other person and it’s gonna keep going.”
With the city’s gun suppression program generating results — taking as many as eight guns off the streets in 72 hours this past week — and a Police foot patrol bridging the gap in community relations, Mayor Sayegh assures residents that the pressure to rid the city of crime has been and will continue to be relentless.
“This is a gritty city and setbacks will not permanently hold us back, they are just opportunities for us to bounce back,” he said.
Correction: This story initially misrepresented the type of weapon confiscated from the teen.