MAYS LANDING- The last of six persons charged in connection to a 2016 gang-related shooting inside the Trump Taj Mahal Casino/Hotel pleaded guilty on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced.
Taquay Dunston of Atlantic City admitted his role in the shoot-out on the 47th floor, which occurred at the start of the Easter holiday weekend on March 24, 2016, when Dunston was 18 years-of-age. An extensive probe by the Atlantic City Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit (VCU) revealed approximately twenty teenagers attended a party at a Trump Taj Mahal hotel room. The party resulted in a shooting between two rival Atlantic City gangs, and video surveillance captured Taquay Dunston firing a handgun into the hotel room. The motivation for the shooting was an ongoing dispute between the Back Maryland-area Head Shot Gang and the Stanley Holmes Village-area Fettigeez gang.
Dunston joined four other males who pleaded guilty in connection to the Taj Mahal shooting. The five charged defendants now await sentencing or previously have been sentenced, as follows:
On December 20, 2016, Saa’lih Davis, Atlantic City, now 17, pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of a firearm for unlawful purposes before the Family Part Juvenile Court and was sentenced to six years at the Training School for Boys. On September 29, 2016, Tyzir Hall, Atlantic City, now 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of a community gun for unlawful purposes before the Family Part Juvenile Court and was sentenced to three years at the Training School for Boys. On June 2, 2016, Nasir Donaldson, Atlantic City, now 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy to commit aggravated assault before the Family Part Juvenile Court and was sentenced to eighteen months juvenile probation. On January 24, 2018, after being waived from the Juvenile Court in January 2017, Quashawn Harris, Atlantic City, now 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of a handgun for unlawful purposes before the Law Division Criminal Part, subject to an agreement that he serve seven years, with a stipulated period of parole ineligibility of three and one-half years. Due to the fact that Harris was 16 years-of-age when he committed the crime, he will serve his term of custody in a juvenile facility. On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, Taquay Dunston, Atlantic City, now 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree aggravated assault, second-degree possession of a handgun for unlawful purposes and fourth-degree aggravated assault by pointing a firearm, subject to an agreement that he serve consecutive terms totaling eleven years in New Jersey State Prison, with a stipulated period of parole ineligibility of six years.
In total, four males affiliated with both the HSG and Fetti-G gangs were struck during the exchange of gunfire at the Taj Mahal, and detectives seized four loaded handguns during the investigation that followed: A 9mm semi-automatic, 38-caliber revolver, 40-caliber semi-automatic and .22-caliber revolver.
Dunston, Harris, Davis, Donaldson, Hall all are documented as members or associates of the Head Shot Gang (HSG), which opposes Atlantic City’s Fettigeez (Fetti-G) and Pleasantville’s South Side Mob criminal street gangs. The Atlantic City Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit, under the direction of Sgt. Christopher Barber, handled the investigation.
Sentencing of Quashawn Harris is scheduled March 9, 2018. Sentencing of Taquay Dunston is scheduled April 13, 2018.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.