At approximately 7 p.m. on July 6, 2015, Oscar Hanks, age 20, was hit in the head and chest by a shotgun blast at a range of about 10 yards.
My name is Tony Jackson and I am a lieutenant with the Belleville Police Department. I have been a police officer in Belleville for 15 years. On July 6, 2015 I was dispatched to 14 Port Street
Belleville, NJ on a report of a shooting. Upon arriving I found Oscar Hanks lying in the street suffering from a gunshot wound to the head and chest. I was advised by the paramedics on the scene that Mr. Hanks was alive but unconscious. The victim was transported to Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
My subsequent investigation revealed the following facts;
On July 6, 2015, at approximately 7 p.m., Oscar Hanks, age 20, was hit in the head and chest by a fatal shotgun blast at a range of about 10 yards.
On July 5, 2015, the suspect, Thomas Wade Carter, age 18, went to a party at the home of his girlfriend, Gail Duran. Witnesses at the party report that almost everyone there, including the suspect, consumed a large amount of beer. At approximately 3 a.m. a fight broke out between a number of individuals at the party. Witnesses could not identify everyone who was involved in the fight, but it was apparent from multiple witness statements that the defendant, Thomas Carter, was clubbed over the head with a beer bottle by another guest named Oscar Hanks. Friends took Carter to the hospital for treatment. Carter suffered a laceration over his right eye. Five stitches were required to close the wound.
On July 6, at about 5 p.m., Carter visited the apartment of a friend, Joel Robertson. Robertson stated that Carter was still angry about being hit during the fight the night before. Robertson also said that Carter remarked, "I'm going to get that guy once and for all. That man is going to pay in a big way."
At about 6:30 p.m. on July 6, Carter visited the home of Gail Duran. Ms. Duran told me that Carter was still angry about what had happened the night before. She also said that Carter told her he knew who had hit him. Carter told her that he was going to get even with Hanks. Carter showed Duran a fake Desert Eagle 9mm handgun that he bought that day. He told Duran that he was going to pay Hanks a “visit”.
The only eyewitness to the shooting of Oscar Hanks was his mother, Ms. Karen Hanks. At about 7 p.m. on July 6, Ms. Hanks was sitting on her front porch when she saw her son, Oscar, walking down the street with his new girlfriend Brittany Jones. Ms. Hanks then noticed a black car driving slowly on the street in front of her house. As the car reached Oscar and Brittany she saw a long gun barrel pointing out of its rear window right at Oscar and Brittany. Before she could say or do anything, Ms. Hanks stated, there was a loud blast and Oscar collapsed. Paramedics were called, but Oscar was pronounced dead on arrival at Clara Maass Medical Center. Ms. Hanks stated that she had no idea who killed her son and could offer no description of the occupants of the black car except that she thought the driver was a young woman. At 11:45 p.m. on July 7, I arrested Thomas Wade Carter and charged him with the murder of Oscar Hanks.
Statement of State Police Sgt. Rufus Miller, State Police C.S.I.
My name is Rufus Miller and I am a Crime Scene Investigator for the New Jersey State Police. I have worked out of the Crime Scene Investigation Laboratory in Newark, New Jersey for the last 8 years, specializing in ballistics investigation. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University and a Master’s Degree in Forensic Science, with a specialty in ballistics, from NYU.
On July 7, 2015 I was assigned to investigate the murder of Oscar Hanks. Mr. Hanks was shot, at close range (about 10 yards), with a shotgun. After studying the autopsy report, photos and the shot recovered from the victim’s body, I concluded that the victim was shot with an under/over type shotgun.
The difference between under/over and side-by-side shotguns can be seen in the blast patterns each gun makes. Side-by-side shotguns, normally used by hunters, leave an east/west (horizontal) blast pattern, while under/over shotguns, commonly used by law-enforcement, leave a north/south (vertical) blast pattern. Based on the wounds to the victim and the fact that the person walking next to the victim was not struck indicate the murder weapon was an under/over shotgun.