Manhunt Ends as Newark, N.J. ,Triple Murder Suspect Surrenders

Jose Carranza has turned himself in to Newark police.

ByABC News via logo
January 8, 2009, 1:05 AM

Aug. 9, 2007 — -- Jose Carranza, the 28-year-old suspect in the execution-style slaying of three college students in Newark, N.J., is in the custody of the Newark Police Department after turning himself in, according to Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

Carranza was accompanied by his attorney, Felix Montalvo, who said his client wanted to turn himself directly to the mayor.

Booker said Carranza "said nothing whatsoever" when he turned himself in.

Police arrested a 15-year-old Wednesday night in connection with the crime, but they are not releasing his name because of his age.

Police say they are investigating leads on other suspects.

"There's still an ongoing hunt for other individuals in this case," Booker said.

Booker said the information provided by the surviving victim, 19-year-old Natasha Aeriel, had helped lead the police to the suspects.

"She's showing remarkable strength and courage, as all the families are," Booker said today on "Good Morning America."

Shortly before Carranza surrendered, Newark officials called on the public for help in finding him, saying the reward for information leading to his arrest and indictment is now up to about $150,000.

Police said in a news conference earlier today that there is no indication that the shootings were gang-related or connected to race.

"There's no evidence this crime was motivated by racial bias in any way," Booker said.

Fingerprints were found at the crime scene, including on a bottle at the murder scene, police said.

"We've got very strong ballistic evidence that we don't want to go into, but we do have evidence corroborating the information she's given us helping us track down people," Booker told "GMA."

For decades, Newark has been famous for having some of the deadliest streets in the nation. The shooting Saturday night seems to have delivered a body blow to the city and to its young, idealistic new mayor.

Three of the victims were forced to kneel against a wall and were then shot in the head at close range, police said. Aeriel was found slumped near some bleachers 30 feet away with a gunshot wound to the head; she was still alive. She is listed in fair condition at Newark's University Hospital.

The anger and anguish in Newark is focused on both the cruelty of the crime and the promise of the victims.

"They were in college. They didn't live that lifestyle," said Renee Tucker, Aeriel's mother.

The four students were close friends who attended Delaware State College. Dashon Harvey, 20, was studying psychology; Iofemi Hightower, also 20, had just enrolled in college and was working two jobs. And Aeriel's brother, Terrence, 18, was studying business.

"I think it really was a body blow to all members of our city," Booker said. "We've been wrapping around the families especially because these children represented the best of Newark, the Newark that we want people to know about that we have phenomenal kids here, the majority focused on doing the right thing."