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Three Killed Execution Style Behind New Jersey School

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Three friends were forced to kneel against a wall behind an elementary school and were shot to death at close range, and a fourth was found about 30 feet away with gunshot and knife wounds to her head, police said.

All were from Newark and planned to attend Delaware State University this fall.

Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow said authorities didn't have any suspects or a motive in the killings late Saturday. None of the victims had any criminal record, she said.

"They were good kids," Dow said.

The four had been listening to music in a parking lot behind Mount Vernon School when they were gradually joined by a group of men, authorities said.

Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy said the four exchanged text messages saying they should leave, but were attacked before they could do so.

Police said the attackers shot one young woman, then forced her three companions down an alley, lined them up against a wall, made them kneel and shot each in the head.

Natasha Aerial, 19, was listed in fair condition at Newark's University Hospital, authorities said. Police identified her companions as her brother, Terrance Aerial, 18, Ofemi Hightower, 20, and Deshawn Harvey, 20.

The Aerials' mother, Renee Tucker, said the last time she saw them was around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, when they told her they were going around the corner to get something to eat.

"They said they were going to come right back to the house," Tucker said.


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