• Lynda Cohen

Two in expressway shootout ​have court appearance

Updated: Feb 9

Two of the five men charged in a shootout that spanned several miles of roadway Monday appeared in court Wednesday on gun charges stemming from the battle that killed one man and wounded four others, including them. Lenardo Caro, walking in on crutches, and Yahshaun Stukes-Williams, with his head bandaged, appeared before Judge Howard Fried via video for Central Judicial Processing in the Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse. Caro, 24, and Stukes-Williams, 19, could be seen whispering to one another while the judge first handled three other cases. Stukes-Williams was in the same Mays Landing courthouse just before the gun battle Monday in a pending drug case, court records show. In another courtroom that afternoon was Rosemund Octavius, appearing before Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury on two separate cases. It’s not clear what may have sparked a battle between the two men, who left the courthouse in separate vehicles. “He didn’t seem to be particularly stressed,” said defense attorney Murray Sufrin, who represented Octavius. But a few hours after that court appearance, Octavius would be found dead in a silver Nissan Maxima on the Garden State Parkway near milepost 39 north. The driver, Anthony Hicks, told police that the shooting happened on the Atlantic City Expressway. Around the same time, several 911 calls alerted police to a bullet-riddled white Ford Expedition that had sped into the parking lot of the Wawa on the Airport Circle in Egg Harbor Township. In the front passenger seat, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head, was Stukes-Williams. His father, Shaun Stukes, 38, of Atlantic City, was behind the wheel, also shot. In the back seat were two more casualties: Caro and a 16-year-old male whose name is not being released due to his age. The teen is currently in the Harborfields Juvenile Detention Center in Egg Harbor City. The Expedition is believed to have exited the expressway in Pleasantville and sped down Delilah Road, where remnants of the shredded back right tire were found. Also along the way, the truck’s occupants allegedly ditched their weapons. Police seized a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a 1914 Erfurt 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a Desert Eagle .50-caliber semi-automatic handgun and a 7.62 mm Kalashnikov assault rifle, according to the charges Fried read to each man separately. The men, along with the still-hospitalized Stukes, are additionally charged with employing a juvenile in a crime. Hicks, who faces two gun charges and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, is expected to have his first appearance Friday. They are each being held on $250,000 cash or bond bail. A third vehicle, a black Dodge Ram, may have been involved, according to witnesses. The truck was found in Pleasantville on Tuesday night, but no information on related suspects or charges has been released.

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