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Investigation Continues into Shooting Death of Liquor Store Clerk

Police search for suspects

West Orange police and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office continued their investigation Saturday into the shooting death of a 28-year-old Hillside man Friday night.

The motive remains unclear, according to Katherine Carter, a spokeswoman with the prosecutor's office.

The liquor store remained cordoned off Saturday morning as family and friends stopped by to pay their respects, according to officials on scene. The passers-by, though, were not allowed to place flowers or candy at the storefront since the investigation is still ongoing.

Officials who chose to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation said there allegedly were witnesses inside the store during the shooting, but could not comment further.

West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi released a statement Saturday, offering his thoughts and prayers to the victim's family. 

"This is a close-knit neighborhood and a tragedy like this affects the entire community. We are committed to keeping our community and all its residents protected, safe and secure," he said. 

In a reverse 911 call to residents Saturday, Parisi said the township is working with the Essex County Prosecutor's Office and will not give up in the efforts to "bring the person or persons responsible for the killing at Chestnut Liquors." He urged anyone with information to notify the prosecutor's office immediately. 

Meanwhile, residents in the neighborhood said the shooting raises their concern for safety.

"I have two kids and a wife, I don't need this," said Michael Verducci, 38, who said he frequents the store. "This is not good. This is ridiculous. I feel like they need the police back here."

Ana Santero, who lives on Whittlesey Avenue, was among the neighbors who were shaken by the scene. "I've been living here 30 years and I've never seen anything like this happen," she said. "I feel so bad."

Residents who said they knew Wilson, described him as "outgoing" and "mellow" and expressed shock at the shooting. Some family members and friends gathered at the scene Saturday night to place flowers and other items. One woman, who gave her name only as "Ebone," was seen crying.

At the scene Friday night, a man was heard crying in anguish that his nephew worked inside the store. Other family members rushed the scene, but were held back by police. They were embracing and weeping. A woman could be heard saying, "That's my baby. What happened? Is he OK?"

The store is on the first floor of a two-story brick building. The incident is in a neighborhood of West Orange that is mixed residential and commercial.

Officials said they currently have no suspects.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call the Essex County Prosecutor's Office tips hotline at 1-877-TIPS-7432 (1-877-847-7432) or the West Orange Police Detective Bureau at (973) 325-4000. All information will be kept confidential.

toni April 24, 2011 at 11:33 AM
my heart goes out to the family and many who knew tariq he is a special friend! also AntonellaRao is doing a great job coveind this she wason the scene throught the first night and has continued to cover this untl the present. mind you i was ther from about 930 pm til 1 am and she was the only reporter that stayed in the rain not only willshe continue as a great photojournalist she also showed compassion and respect to all not many reporters has all these qualities kudos to yuo Toni! thanks!Keep up yhe greatwork.
Antonella Rao April 24, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Toni thanks for the kind words, dont forget Karen and Josh, they worked extra hard as well!!! keep reading patch.com. and Happy Easter :)
toni April 25, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Give yourself the credit you were the one from the start that stayed IN THE RAIN with us for hours prior to any other reporters...... photos speak for themself! AND YOU LISTENED TO THE PEOPLE not with only ears but HEART unlike the other reporters from patch! truth sorry. happy Easter to you and yours toni
badbul April 25, 2011 at 03:44 AM
There was no money taken, no liquor, nothing that would indicate this was a robbery. It wasn't gang related. Maybe the shooting had something to do with this store that looked like a liquor store was really a DRUG STORE? Drug related?
Gary Englert April 25, 2011 at 05:04 AM
@badbul: And where, precisely, did you get this information from?
badbul April 25, 2011 at 05:08 AM
@ Gary - A close law enforcement friend.
Gary Englert April 25, 2011 at 05:32 AM
@ badbul: Who probably shouldn't be commenting about an ongoing investigation...and my guess would be that if he is, he isn't very close to the center of it.
Smith April 25, 2011 at 11:00 AM
Anyone with common sense, can figure out this wasn't about money or liquor.
Gary Englert April 25, 2011 at 11:45 AM
@ Smith: OK, Kojak and what, precisely, helped you get into the mind of the thus far unidentified perpetrator(s) in order to determine what the motive (of any number of possibilities) was? Ouija Board, Tarot cards, crystal ball?
Kavorka April 25, 2011 at 03:49 PM
We all want the police to do their job until we feel as if they are infringing on our freedoms. It's a tough thing to balance and the cops that are unprofessional make it difficult for the entire police force. Just as the residents of WO shouldn't tolerate criminal activity by other residents, police officers should not accept the ugly behavior of some cops.
Sandman April 25, 2011 at 04:20 PM
And WE don't tolerate it sir! That is why every police force has an Internal Affairs Function as mandated by the Attorney Generals Guidelines. Police Officers are human...we make mistakes and have bad days too. If an officer is found to be "unprofessional" they are held to task whether it be additional training, counceling, reprimands or unfortunately in some circumstances termination.
Arnett Rochelle April 25, 2011 at 05:36 PM
I dont care when anyone says that neighborhood is not a good place to raise a family
Danny Bonilla April 25, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Do we have ANY information w/ regards to the suspects themselves? I've read in different sources that there may have been two suspects who fled in a white car. Do we know whether these suspects are white, black, hispanic, etc? And, does anyone know whether we're talking about a sedan, coupe, SUV, etc.?
Smith April 25, 2011 at 06:01 PM
@Gary.. COMMON SENSE.. Just in case you had a hard time reading it the first time. Is the name calling really nessisery?
badbul April 25, 2011 at 06:58 PM
@ Gary, well I guess we will have to wait and see how creditable my source is? Shouldn't be that long now...
Gary Englert April 25, 2011 at 07:02 PM
@ Smith: Name calling? Hardly. You and you alone are claiming to have concluded what the motive for this crime was and that "common sense" brought you there. Common sense should tell you not to jump to any conclusion that can't be supported with cold hard facts. There is an investigative process that is best left to the professionals.
Gary Englert April 25, 2011 at 07:14 PM
@ badbul: I suspect you're right; the WOPD has an excellent track record when it comes to swiftly closing investigations.
Mary May 06, 2011 at 01:55 PM
Gosh, everyone bashing one another. What about the poor young guy who lost his life? Doesn't that concern anyone? Have some sympathy for him and the family of him. There is one man who knows what happened. The man upstairs. Lets keep in our prayers that they will be brought to justice for this horrible crime. In all due time it will be found out for what reason. But for now, let the young man rest in peace, and stop all the dang bickering. sheesh
toni June 01, 2011 at 11:36 AM
onoe question? why have we the public not been shown the video of the liquor store
Arnett Rochelle June 06, 2011 at 03:23 PM
Did they ever find out who killed that man???
Lillerz June 13, 2011 at 02:57 PM
This store was NOT drug related! I personally know myself! Can you all shut your mouths and stop making up your own stories. Stop name calling and being immature. The point is that my, our good friend lost his life for no good reason. I do agree that WOPD are the worst and have no clue what they're doing .. so as a community we need to do better then WOPD and come together and catch Tariqz killer. GOD HAVE NO MERCY ON HIS KILLERS SOUL. We love you Tariq. . Keep shining down on us.
toni June 29, 2011 at 01:44 PM
one last question why hasnt the video of the evil people behind the killing been shown to our community as other cases have been solved by showing the public?

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