NJ Governor Uses Art Festival Shooting As Call For Gun Control, Ignores Early Prison Release

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Molly Prince Politics Reporter
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Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is calling for a discussion on even stricter gun policies following Sunday’s shooting at a Trenton art festival in his state, while at the same time ignoring the alleged shooter’s early prison release and violent past.

Murphy blamed the shooting on guns. The shooting left 22 injured and one dead after three men open fired around 3 a.m. at an Art All Night festival, NJ.com reported. The motive of the incident appears to be gang-related, according to Angelo Onofri, the Mercer County prosecutor.

Tahaij Wells, 33, who is one of the suspects, was shot and killed by responding officers during an exchange of gunfire. He was allegedly a member of the Bloods gang. (RELATED: One Dead, 20 Injured After NJ Art Festival Shootout)

Wells was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2004 for aggravated manslaughter. While still serving time for the manslaughter charges, Wells was convicted of helping the Bloods’ Nine Trey Gangsters leader run the gang, and sentenced to six more years for racketeering. Wells was released early from prison in February.

The governor is a supporter of shorter prison sentences and cuts in inmate rehabilitation programs, reported Fox News.

Murphy held a press conference Sunday where he urged Congress to take action on guns. “It’s yet another reminder of the senseless gun violence, even having signed six stringent gun laws last week,” he said.

“These are not inappropriate times to talk about gun policy. These are the most important times to talk about gun policy,” he tweeted Sunday. He made no mention of the gang-related violence.

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