The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed a published report that three individuals have been apprehended in connection with the fatal shooting of a man outside a Belleville strip club on Oct. 8.
Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the ECPO, confirmed as “accurate” a report by Patch that Yanafi Mojica, 31, Armand Padron, 28, and Nathaniel Garcia, 21, all of Elizabeth, were charged with murder and weapons violations linked to the killing of Michael Williams, 28, of Newark, outside the Wet Gentleman’s Club, 213 Belleville Ave., during the early morning on Oct. 8.
Carter confirmed that Padron was arrested in Miami where he was awaiting extradition as of last week, and that his co-defendants were grabbed in New Jersey, with Mojica being held on $1 million bail and Padron and Garcia on $750,000 each.
Law enforcement agencies are continuing an investigation of the incident and anyone with information is asked to contact the ECPO’s Homicide/ Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-847-7432.
Meanwhile, sentiment against the club is running high in Belleville as several neighbors came to a recent meeting of the governing body to vent their feelings.
One man said: “We’ve got to protect our kids. People are going to move out because the crime is so bad. I want to start a petition to shut the place down. It shouldn’t be there.”
A longtime neighbor griped that when it gets to closing time, there is “loud noise” that rouses nearby residents trying to sleep. As for security, she said, “there’s a guy sitting in his car in their parking lot,” which, she added, hardly serves as a deterrent to trouble- makers. What’s more, she said, “the people coming there are not from Belleville. Since that bar has been there, there’s been nothing but trouble. That place has to go.”
Mayor Ray Kimble said the township is exploring what, if anything, can be done to control the situation but gave no assurances that something would be done to close the business.
– Ron Leir