By: Reney Waters, Follow South Jersey News Reporting Intern
BRIDGETON, N.J. — Last Thursday, police announced that 21-year-old Millville native Zedekiah Holmes was charged with murder after killing two individuals and leaving four others wounded in the May 22 mass shooting at a house party in Fairlfield Township based on ballistic evidence.
Holmes, whose younger sister, Brailyn, also died as a result of the shooting, is charged in the shooting deaths of two Bridgeton residents: Asia Hester and Kevin Elliot. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, and the authorities also accused him of injuring four others during the shooting. In addition to four attempted murder charges, Holmes faces weapons charges and first-degree conspiracy to commit murder.
The 21-year-old man was one of 11 people who were injured in the shooting. He refused to provide the police with a statement at the hospital where he was treated, but he told investigators he was standing next to his sister and walked away when he heard the first shots fired. He left the scene and ran to a wooded area near the house, but he returned when someone told him over the phone that his sister was wounded.
No one has been charged in Brailyn Holmes’ death at this time, and the authorities urged the public to help with the investigation in any way possible.
Authorities believed six guns were fired based on the 48 shell casings they recovered while on scene. Holmes also faces an attempted murder charge after his alleged involvement in an April 13 incident in Fairfield Township. He’s accused of firing multiple shots at another man who was standing in the driveway of a home on the 400 block of S. Burlington Road.
Holmes was driving a Nissan Altima registered to his mother right before he fired multiple shots at his target, who was driving a Dodge Challenger, according to court documents. Further investigations proved 11 of the 48 shell casings recovered on May 22 matched a .45 caliber that was found on April 13 by authorities near the location where Holmes opened fire.
Based on certain characteristics of the car, investigators concluded it was the same one involved in the April 13 incident, according to a report from NJ.com. Police located that vehicle in June, and there was bullet damage on the rear bumper. Based on these findings, the authorities concluded that the Nissan Altima was the car involved in the April shootout.
Police also found items addressed to Holmes, including a pair of torn jeans similar to those he wore at the hospital and bloody clothing, in his vehicle. Although Holmes denied his involvement in the April 13 incident, phone data reviewed by the authorities showed he was at the scene of that shooting.
Holmes remains in jail pending a hearing on his charges next week.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.