Three people were fatally injured and another three were hospitalized after a mass stabbing inside a house in Newark, the Essex County prosecutor said.
Aerial Little Whitehurst, 8, Al-Jahon Whitehurst, 11, and Syasia McBorroughs, 23, died as a result of their injuries. The two children were pronounced dead at University Hospital at 4:40 p.m. Saturday, authorities said.
The three survivors, a 29-year-old woman and two 13-year-olds, a boy and a girl, remain in critical, but stable condition at a local hospital. The mother of the child victims is being treated for her injuries at a local hospital.
Although the relationship between the victims wasn't immediately clear, many of the victims are believed to be family members.
Officers swarmed the scene as detectives searched the area near the 100 block of Hedden Terrace for evidence. Dozens of vehicles — black detective cars, police SUVs and ambulances — were parked on the street as EMTs rolled stretchers out of an ambulance. Part of Hedden Terrace was blocked off by yellow police tape.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka called the incident "horrific".
"It makes my stomach churn to think about what happened," he said during a Saturday evening press conference. "The incident this evening was a horrific and horrible kind of scene."
Baraka appealed to the public to turn the suspect in, or call the Crime Stoppers hotline with any relevant information.
"We cannot hide this individual, we have to get him immediately before he hurts someone else," he said. As long as he's in the streets, nobody is safe."
Police were dispatched to 137 Hedden Terrace at around 3:55 p.m, according to Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose. Upon arrival, officers discovered four female and two male victims on the second floor of the house, one of whom was found dead at the scene.
Jeremy Arrington is considered to be a person of interest in the investigation. The 26-year-old is wanted for questioning and has a warrant for sexual assault and aggravated assault in an unrelated Oct. 9 incident. He is considered to be armed and dangerous.
Authorities believe someone who had a connection to the victims is responsible for the stabbing, Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said. However, the perpetrator is not believed to be a resident of the home. The motives for the incident are unknown.
The Newark Police Department is asking for tips regarding the investifation. A reward of up to $20,000 will be given to anyone with information leading to the arrest or conviction of the suspect.