Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and East Orange Police Chief William C. Robinson announced today that the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force and the East Orange Police Department have arrested Rochenel Estinphil, 19, of East Orange for the murder of Tyree Thomas, 18, also of East Orange.
Thomas was fatally shot on July 5. He was pronounced dead at 5:30 pm at University Hospital. Shortly afterwards, Estinphil surrendered to East Orange Police and was charged with Thomas’ murder and weapons offenses for possession of an unlawful gun.
Thomas was shot in East Orange in the vicinity of North Maples and Park Avenue. Information developed by the East Orange and the Task Force detectives indicates that the victim and the suspect may have known each other and that it was not a random incident, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly, director of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit.
After he is processed, Estinphil will be lodged at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark.
“I just want to thank Capt. Thomas Koundry and members of the Major Crimes Task Force for bringing this to such a swift conclusion,’’ said Chief Robinson. “Keeping the streets of East Orange safe is our top priority at all times.’’
The investigation is active and ongoing. These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they plead guilty or are found guilty in a court of law.