The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Mercer County serious collision response team are investigating a chase and crash that took place in Trenton near Ewing early Wednesday morning. Three Trenton police officers and three suspects were injured in the crash. One officer is in critical condition and two are in stable condition.
Three Trenton men are being charged with attempted murder, eluding police, and weapons offenses. Suspect Zaire Butler, 19, suffered internal injuries in the crash and remains hospitalized and in critical condition. Suspect Nazere Crews, 18, suffered a fractured femur and remains hospitalized. A 16-year-old male suspect suffered a fractured wrist, and was treated and released.
An investigation revealed that Trenton police officers were made aware of a social media post that showed a group of people with guns driving around the western section the city looking for people to shoot.
An alert was broadcast via the police radio and at approximately 2:26 a.m. Trenton officers Michael Gettler and Jeffery Pownall then came upon a 2003 red Ford Focus four-door sedan. After checking the license plate and confirming the car was stolen in Trenton, the officers tried to initiate a traffic stop on Parkside Avenue and the driver tried 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 of shots were fired from the Ford Focus at the police patrol vehicle before the Ford Focus was driven back into the city. The patrol vehicle was struck one time and the shot bounced off the roof of the patrol vehicle.
Officers continued their pursuit of the Ford Focus back into Trenton. As the vehicle approached the intersection of North Olden and North Clinton avenues, the stolen vehicle struck another Trenton police vehicle containing officers Kevin Starkey and Brian Walker. Both vehicles spun and the stolen vehicle also struck a white minivan that was traveling in the opposite direction.
Trenton Police Officers Orlando Santiago and Andy Gomez then approached the stolen vehicle. Santiago slipped in fluids from the crash. He sustained cuts to his elbow as a result. Gomez sustained lacerations to his hand from glass that was broken.
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 FNPS90 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.
Starkey is currently in critical condition after suffering serious head trauma. Walker also sustained serious head injuries. He remains hospitalized in stable condition. 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.