The murder of an 18-year-old in Trenton last year was a drive-by shooting committed by two men who left behind cell phones and other evidence in the getaway car, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday.
Bryant Coon, 20, and an 18-year-old male are each charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and related firearm possession charges in the May 2019 shooting of Taquan Ellerbe on Bellevue Avenue.
The 18-year-old was a minor at the time of the crime and is charged as a juvenile, but Prosecutor Angelo Onofri’s office will seek to try him as an adult.
Police found Ellerbe behind a Trenton home, shot multiple times after responding to a 5:30 p.m. call reporting a shooting on May 22, 2019. Investigators found bullet casings from separate guns in front of the home and broken glass, apparently from a vehicle, authorities said. Ellerbe died a short time later at a city hospital.
Detectives learned an older blue Buick with a temporary license tag had driven down Bellevue Avenue toward Calhoun Street with two occupants who wore masks. Not long after the shooting, police found a blue Buick Park Avenue with a temporary tag abandoned further west off Bellevue Avenue, on Bessemer Alley, that was determined to be the getaway car. The Buick had a gunshot hole in its rear windshield that matches the glass at the shooting scene.
Inside the car, detectives found paperwork belonging to the 18-year-old and two phones. One had numerous photographs of Coon and the 18-year-old posing with firearms, authorities said. The other phone’s number was a registered contact number for Coon with the court system.
Detectives from the prosecutor’s Homicide Task Force located video surveillance footage from the area and observed a blue Buick Park Avenue with a temporary tag driving on nearby Calhoun Street, Pashley Avenue, North Willow Street, and ultimately toward Bellevue Avenue, right before the crime.
They also tracked the Buick’s vehicle identification number and found reports that Coon was seen earlier that day driving a Buick Park Avenue, the office alleged.
A U.S. Marshals’ regional task force arrested Coon in Trenton Friday. The 18-year-old was already in custody in another case.
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Kevin Shea may be reached at [email protected].