ANDREA SEABROOK, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Andrea Seabrook.
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
And I'm Michele Norris.
Police have arrested two suspects in Newark, New Jersey, and charged them in the murders of three young people who were killed last weekend. A fourth victim was shot in the head, but she survived. Newark has grown accustomed to violence, but this crime really unsettled Newark residents and attracted lots of national attention. The four young victims were in the college or headed to college. They were widely respected and not connected with the city's notorious drug trade.
As NPR's Nancy Solomon reports, one of today's arrests came as surprise even to the mayor.
NANCY SOLOMON: Newark Mayor Cory Booker held a press conference this morning to announce the arrest of a 15-year-old suspect, and a manhunt for a second, a 31- year-old man. Just before ending the nationally televised briefing, his chief of staff whispered in his ear that a lawyer was on the phone and the suspect was willing to turn himself in, but only to the mayor. He quickly left the room. And as he later described, arranged to meet the suspect at police headquarters.
CORY BOOKER: Any description of the individual will be colored by my feelings right now, so he simply came forward. He said nothing. We put him in handcuffs and we walked the individual into the office. I personally helped the detective to sit him down, and I left.
SOLOMON: The suspect, Jose Carranza, reportedly has a criminal record and a court case pending. Officials are not saying much about the 15-year-old. The prosecutor says he's an American citizen with a Newark address, and that she will seek to try him as an adult.
There was speculation that because the victims were lined up against the wall, forced to kneel and shot in the head, that the killings might have been some sort of gang initiation. But police officials insist that gang activity does not appear to be involved. Booker also says he doesn't believe it was a racially motivated crime. The four victims are African-American, and at least one suspect is Hispanic.
He took pains to speak directly to the Latino community with what he described as his less than perfect Spanish.
BOOKER: (Spanish spoken)
SOLOMON: Initially, residents and some political leaders complained that Booker had not done enough to make Newark safe. But today, Booker assembled a large group of politicians, police officials and prosecutors to stand at his side.
BOOKER: I see right now the leadership of Newark pulling together, tighter than they have ever been to focus on this problem. I see in the neighborhoods, grassroots groups, ministers' groups. I see people who are often political adversaries now joining hands to say enough is enough in Newark.
SOLOMON: The funerals for the three victims are scheduled for Saturday.
Nancy Solomon, NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.