A South Jersey man is now facing a longer list of charges, including two counts of murder, in connection to a fatal mass shooting at a party attended by hundreds of people in Cumberland County in 2021.

Authorities say using recently developed information, this past Thursday, 30-year-old Arthur Armstead of Fairfield Township was charged with the following:

  • 2 counts of first-degree murder
  • 3 counts of first-degree attempted murder
  • First-degree conspiracy to commit murder
  • 5 counts of second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose
  • Second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun
  • Second-degree possession of a weapon by a convicted person

It was on the night of May 22nd, 2021, New Jersey state troopers responded to report of a mass shooting at a party at a home on East Commerce Street in Fairfield Township.

Photo: Chris Coleman
Photo: Chris Coleman

The gunfire that erupted resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to about a dozen others consisting of a varying degree of gunshot wounds ranging from minor to serious.

The murder charges against Armstead are for the deaths of 30-year-old Kevin Elliott of Fairfield Township, who died at the scene, and 19-year-old Brailyn Holmes, who died after the shooting, according to the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office.

25-year-old Asia Hester, also of Fairfield Township, was also killed.

Braylin Holmes, Kevin Elliott, Asia Hester
Braylin Holmes, Kevin Elliott, Asia Hester (Via Facebook)

At the time, then-Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said, "This was not a random act of violence. This was a targeted attack. There’s a significant amount of evidence to process."

Upgraded charges

Armstead was previously charged in connection with the investigation for obstruction and hindering apprehension for his actions after the incident.

Authorities allege that Armstead fled to Delaware after the shooting where he stayed for several days with a paramour. He then went to Atlantic City where he took refuge in a casino hotel. He subsequently turned himself in to state troopers in Bridgeton.

Earlier arrests

36-year-old Kevin Dawkins of Bridgeton was arrested shortly after the shooting. He was facing weapon-related charges as was 30-year-old Darrell Dawkins, also of Bridgeton.

39-year-old Larry McCrae of Bridgeton was charged with two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun for two guns that were recovered.

In August 2021, 21-year-old Zedekiah Holmes was charged with killing Hester and Elliott.

By the fall of 2021, The Press of Atlantic City reported a total of nine people had been indicted in connection to the shooting.

The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Shooting in Fairfield Township, Cumberland County, leaves three dead, 12 injured

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