A 16-year-old resident of Howell and an 18-year-old resident of Asbury Park have been charged in connection with a March 23 homicide at a residence on Dewitt Avenue in Asbury Park, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced on Nov. 3.
The Howell juvenile is also facing an attempted murder charge stemming from an Oct. 29, 2019, shooting at the same home, according to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Gramiccioni said Jamir Styles, 20, with a last known address of Asbury Park, and the 16-year-old juvenile from Howell were charged on Oct. 29 with first degree murder, first degree conspiracy to commit murder, second degree unlawful possession of a handgun and second degree possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.
According to the press release, on March 23 at 11:36 p.m., Asbury Park police officers responded to a DeWitt Avenue residence after being notified about a male gunshot victim inside the home. Officers responded and located the 24-year-old shooting victim, Christian Lahens, in his home.
Lifesaving efforts were made by emergency medical personnel in the home and en route to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, but despite these lifesaving efforts, Lahens was pronounced deceased at 12:16 a.m. March 24, according to the press release.
The Asbury Park Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office launched a joint investigation into the homicide. As a result, police have determined the juvenile from Howell and Styles were both armed with handguns when they approached Lahens’ home.
After alerting those inside the dwelling to their presence, they both allegedly fired several
shots into the home. Lahens was struck with gunfire and later died as a result.
In addition to the charges filed against the Howell juvenile and Styles, law enforcement officers have charged Jayson Freeman, 19, of Lakewood, with hindering the apprehension of another based upon his alleged actions in aiding the two shooters.
The March 23 incident was the second time in five months that Lahens’ DeWitt Avenue family residence had been struck with gunfire. On Oct. 29, 2019 at 9:17 p.m., Asbury Park police officers responded to the home after receiving a report of shots fired.
Upon arrival, officers determined the residence had been struck with gunfire while several residents were inside. That incident was investigated by the Asbury Park police and the prosecutor’s office, according to the press release.
While investigating the March homicide at the DeWitt Avenue residence, police were able to
determine that two juveniles, a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old, were present outside the same home on Oct. 29, 2019, armed with a handgun.
During the October incident, while outside the residence, one of the juveniles produced a handgun and fired shots inside. Unlike the March 2020 incident, however, no one was injured at that time.
The 16-year-old juvenile from Howell who was charged with the March 2020 murder was one of the two juveniles allegedly involved in the Oct. 29, 2019 incident, according to the press release.
The two juveniles have been charged on juvenile complaints with first degree attempted murder, first degree conspiracy to commit murder and the second degree crimes of unlawful possession of a handgun and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose as a result of the Oct. 29, 2019 incident, according to the press release.
Styles, a G-Shine Blood, was part of a criminal enterprise identified by Gramiccioni as Operation Golden State.
The investigation revealed Styles was allegedly involved in the distribution of controlled dangerous substances and the possession and use of illegal firearms.
More specifically, the investigation revealed Styles and the juvenile from Howell carried out the murder of Lahens as part of an ongoing effort to target rivals of the criminal enterprise, according to the press release.
As part of Styles’ arrest in Operation Golden State, he was charged with first degree
racketeering conspiracy, multiple weapons charges including second degree conspiracy to commit unlawful possession of a weapon, second degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and third degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, according to the press release.
The two juveniles were lodged in the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center, North Brunswick, awaiting an appearance in Family Court.
Styles was apprehended in DeKalb County, Ga., by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Freeman was arrested on an outstanding warrant by the Wall Township police.
Police are asking anyone with information about these incidents to contact Asbury Park Detective Terrence McGhee at 732-774-1300 or Detective Stephen Cavendish of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443.