The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that a man was murdered on Mission Street in Montclair last night. Breaking News Network reported gunshots at the intersection of Mission and Bloomfield Ave. shortly after 9 p.m.
Thomas Reynolds, president of The Montclair Branch of the NAACP, identified the victim as Ibn Futrell, a former Montclair High School student who was in his mid-20s. Reynolds said he knew a good friend of the victim, and the two spent the night “talking about this horrible thing.”
The NAACP, along with Fourth Ward Councilor Renee Baskerville, will hold a community meeting on Thursday night at 8 p.m. at the Fire Headquarters on Pine Street to address safety in the area.
Mission Street, in Montclair’s Fourth Ward, has long been considered a scene of violent crime — even showing up on the crowdsourced See-Click-Fix as a problem area. It is also located close to two schools, Glenfield Middle School and the new Charles H. Bullock elementary school.
Police Chief David Sabagh also identified the Mission Street area as one of the highest crime areas in Montclair in 2009 interview with Baristanet, following a series of armed robberies. Due to budget cuts, the nearby police substation in Lackawanna Plaza was closed in 2008.
Reynolds said he was frustrated about what he called the lack of community policing in some of the more crime-ridden parts of Montclair. “If they know there are drug deals going on, why not put a cop there? They should prevent incidents instead of just reacting to them.”
He confirmed that the victim had a prior record of arrest, he said he did not know if the homicide was drug- or gang-related, as has been speculated by some news sources. “But no matter what (his record), losing your life…is not worth it.”
The meeting will allow the community to discuss their ideas for how the police should respond to crime in the area. “Small changes can make a difference, such as more community policing,” Reynolds said. While he said he is not “pointing blame” at the police, “this is what Chief Sabagh and the cops all have to be willing to do to protect the community.”
Reynolds said that when he was a college student at NJIT in Newark, there were always police on campus to make students and faculty feel safe. “Montclair is an extremely safe community, but let’s make sure it stays that way.”
Update: The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office released the following statement at 12:33 p.m.:
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Montclair Police Chief David Sabagh announced today the Montclair Police and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force are investigating a fatal shooting in Montclair.
The victim has been identified as Ibn Futrell, 29, of Bloomfield. At approximately 8:59 pm Montclair Police responded to a report of gun shots fired in the vicinity of 4 Mission Street.
They discovered a 29-year-old male, later identified as Ibn Futrell. Futrell was currently living in Bloomfield. He formerly resided in Montclair.
Futrell was transported to Mountainside Hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 9:57 p.m., according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly of the ECPO Homicide Unit.
The investigation is active and ongoing. No arrests have been made. No suspects have been identified at this time. Additional information will be released when it becomes available.