The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Serious Collision Response Team are investigating an incident that occurred in Trenton early this morning, July 29, 2020, that has left multiple Trenton police officers injured.
Three suspects are in custody at this time and criminal charges are pending, including attempted murder, eluding and weapons offenses. Zaire Butler, 19, suffered internal injuries in the motor vehicle crash, and remains hospitalized in critical condition. Nazere Crews, 18, suffered a fractured femur and remains hospitalized. A 16-year-old male suffered a fractured wrist, and was treated and released. All three suspects are Trenton residents.
An investigation has revealed that Trenton police officers were made aware of a social media posting that showed a group of individuals with guns driving around the west district of the city looking for people to shoot. An alert was broadcast via the radio and at approximately 2:26 a.m., Officers Michael Gettler and Jeffery Pownall came upon a 2003 red Ford Focus four-door sedan. After checking the license plate and confirming it was stolen in Trenton, the officers tried to initiate a traffic stop on Parkside Avenue when the vehicle began to elude them. The officers pursued the vehicle into Ewing Township onto Olden Avenue and then back into Trenton. As the officers pursued the vehicle past the Home Depot on Olden Avenue in Ewing, at least four rounds were fired from the Ford Focus at the patrol vehicle before entering back into the city. The patrol vehicle was struck one time in the top light bar before bouncing off the roof of the patrol vehicle. The officers continued their pursuit of the Ford Focus back into Trenton and as the vehicle approached the intersection of North Olden and North Clinton avenues, the stolen vehicle
struck a responding Trenton police vehicle containing Officers Kevin Starkey and Brian Walker. Both vehicles spun and the stolen vehicle struck a white minivan that was traveling in the opposite direction.
Trenton Police Officers Orlando Santiago and Andy Gomez then approached the stolen vehicle and Officer Santiago slipped in fluids from the crash. He sustained cuts to his elbow as a result. Officer Gomez sustained lacerations to his hand from glass that was broken out. The three suspects were taken into custody without further incident. All injured officers and suspects were transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center.
One shell casing and two projectiles were recovered by the Home Depot in Ewing. A FN PS90 sub-gun was recovered in the city in the area in front of 664 Olden Avenue. A Glock 26 9mm and an AR-15 pistol were recovered in the backseat of the stolen Ford Focus, and three spent 9mm casings were recovered in the front passenger seat floor board.
Officer Starkey is currently in critical condition suffering serious head trauma. Officer Walker also sustained serious head injuries. He remains hospitalized in stable condition. Officer Santiago was treated for a head injury and elbow abrasions. Officer Gomez was treated for lacerations to his hands and released. Officers Gettler and Pownell were evaluated and released.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.