FREEHOLD – The victims of the shooting in Asbury Park Wednesday evening are being identified following notification and consultation with the family, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Yovanni Banos-Merino, 10, died from a gunshot wound sustained Wednesday evening at his Ridge Avenue home. His mother, Lilia Merino, 38, also sustained injuries but was treated and released from Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune Township.
A Neptune Township teen was arrested without incident and charged Thursday for his role in the shooting death of the child and wounding of the victim’s mother in Asbury Park.
Asbury Park police responded to a 911 call around 10:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, reporting shots fired at a home in the 400 block of Ridge Avenue in the city. Police arrived to find the 10-year old child and his 39-year old mother had been struck with gunshot wounds. The child’s mother was treated and released for her injuries, however the child was pronounced deceased at 11:18 p.m.
The joint investigation is being conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department with assistance from Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and Neptune Township Police Department. At this point in the investigation, it appears that neither the 10-year old child nor his mother were the intended victims of this shooting. The intended target was another occupant also present within the home.
The juvenile is charged with Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Aggravated Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
Investigators are seeking the assistance of the public to identify other(s) who may have been involved in this criminal conspiracy. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Detective Brian Weisbrot of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443 or Detective Sean DeShader of the Asbury Park Police Department at 732-774-1300.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; can text “MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637; or, they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com. Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Bogner.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
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