Crack Cocaine is Back!

By Sinclere Lee

NEWARK, New Jersey (BNW) — J
ust when you thought that it was safe to go back outside because you thought that crack was gone along with the murder and mayhem it brings…. Wrong, it’s back!

Just like in the 90s when crack cocaine ruled the Black community, it is back on the streets of the Black community with a vengeance. Any negative thing that is happening in the Black community can be laid at the door of crack. While we as Blacks don’t bring crack to our community, we have got to get it out!

In Newark last week, 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 of the victims in the shootings late Saturday were from Newark and planned to attend Delaware State University this fall.

No arrests had been made by Monday and authorities had not identified suspects, said Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Essex County Prosecutor's office.

None of the victims had criminal records, authorities said. "They were good kids," Essex County Prosecutor Paul Dow said. But, I will bet my family's farm that crack is somehow involved in the crime.

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, Iofemi Hightower, 20, and Dashon 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.

Hightower was a motivated student who had recently enrolled at Delaware State, according to great-uncle John McClain.

"She was one of the most beautiful ladies you'd ever want to meet," McClain said. "Very smart, very intelligent. She wanted to be something in life."

In the wake of the killings, Mayor Cory A. Booker again found himself defending his administration's inability to make a dent in the city's murder rate.

"He doesn't deserve another day, another second, while our children are at stake," said Donna Jackson, president of Take Back Our Streets, a community-based organization. "Anyone who has children in the city is in panic mode."

Booker's office didn't return a call for comment on Monday.

A month ago, Booker and Police Director Garry McCarthy announced that crime in the city had fallen by 20 percent in the first six months of 2007 compared to a year ago. Yet despite decreases in the number of rapes, aggravated assaults and robberies, the murders have continued.

Saturday night's killings, along with an unrelated shooting over the weekend that killed a Montclair man, brought Newark's murder total to 60 in 2007. That is three fewer than in the same period in 2006. But there have been 17 slaying in the eight weeks since June 12.

At Delaware State, officials said the school plans to hold a memorial service Aug. 28, after the student body returns for the fall semester

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