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Breaking news & local stories from Camden City, Berlin, Laurel Springs and more

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    The girl was hit by a car while crossing Princess Avenue, said Camden County Police Department Spokesman Dan Keashen.

    Authorities say that the death of a 5-year-old girl who was hit by a car while crossing the street was likely a "tragic accident."

    The girl was hit around 3 p.m. while crossing Princess Avenue, said Camden County Police Department Spokesman Dan Keashen.

    "The preliminary investigation does not point to any impairment of the driver or wrongdoing," Keashen said.

    No criminal charges have been filed.

    The girl was taken to Cooper University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Her name was not released.

    No further details of the accident were made public. 

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at orizzo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find NJ.com on Facebook 

     

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    The incident began early Saturday in Winslow Township where a man and woman were shot.

    A suspect wanted for the murder of a man and wounding of a woman early Saturday in Camden County was chased by authorities to Cumberland County where he was fatally shot by police, officials said.

    The incident began when Winslow Township Police received a 911 call about a man and woman who had been found shot in a home on Woodhaven Way.

    They found Derek White, 47, of Salem dead and a 26-year-old Winslow woman seriously wounded, officials said.

    The woman was taken a nearby hospital.

    According to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, detectives learned there were two children missing from the home, ages 2 and 3.

    The children had been missing since approximately 4:30 a.m., and were last seen with their father, a 55-year-old Pennsville man, in the Salem County area, according to authorities.

    After the shooting, police saw the man's vehicle traveling near the Winslow crime scene and initiated a pursuit.

    The chase ended in Millville on Holly Berry Lane where the man was shot by police around 9:10 a.m., according to officials.

    He was taken to Inspira Medical Center Vineland where he was pronounced dead.

    The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office said one Millville police officer and two Winslow Township officers were involved in the shooting.

    Authorities said they could not provide any other details about what happened and whether the suspect who was killed had threatened officers. They also did not release how many times he had been shot, saying an autopsy was pending.

    The Pennsville man's identity had not been released as of Saturday night.

    There was no report of any of the officers being injured.

    The two missing children were located safe around 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Salem County, officials said.

    The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office, with assistance from the Camden County Prosecutor's Office investigating the case.

    Bill Gallo Jr. may be reached at bgallo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow Bill Gallo Jr. on Twitter @bgallojr. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us.

     

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    Superintendent Paymon Rohanifard will quit at then end of the school year. Others should be able to preserve and expand the positive momentum.

    There's general agreement that the Camden schools are losing a good man and a strong advocate with Superintendent Paymon Rohanifard's announcement that he'll leave the underperforming, state-run district at the end of the school year.

    At age 36, Rohanifard will have had a five-year run that positions him for great things ahead during the balance of his education career. But what's more important to the students in Camden's public and charter schools, and for both defenders and detractors of urban school systems everywhere, is that he leaves the district with a viable blueprint for turning things around. 

    Once Rohanifard leaves, it'll be up to his successors, and the career instructors and administrators he's energized, to carry on the momentum rather than squandering it. To whatever extent that the superintendent is guilty of unbridled boosterism about the often-maligned schools and their modest successes, it has paid off with a level of parental involvement rarely seen in districts with so many socioeconomic challenges.

    Even given the historic suspicion that districts like Camden embellish or fudge the metrics -- indeed, Camden schools had a widespread test-score scandal 12 years ago -- the measurable improvement since Rohanifard came along is well beyond any margin of error or mischief. 

    Among the stats that district officials cite are: a dropout rate that has declined from 21 to 11 percent; K-8 math proficiency almost tripled in the past three years; reading proficiency doubled over the past three years; and a 2017 graduation rate that jumped to 66 percent from 49 percent in 2012.

    Anyway you cut it, that's progress, although Rohanifard would be among the first to say that a lot more remains to be done.

    Public officials like the superintendent deserve the benefit of any doubt when they use the "spend more time with my family" line when asked why they are leaving. Rohanifard does have a newborn daughter at home with his wife and 4-year-old son.

    But it's always natural to wonder if other, less family-friendly factors were at play.

    Rohanifard was appointed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie under deep skepticism that he was placed in Camden mainly to boost the fortunes of charter schools, which are funded through the school district but operate under far fewer regulations. More Camden students are in charters and "renaissance schools" than when he arrived, but Rohanifard never gave the impression that he was out to shortchange traditional public schools. It's to his credit that he was able to maintain community "buy-in" to these alternatives without the rancor that occurred in Newark, for example.

    Charters' records are mixed, to be sure. Teachers' unions, however, seem never seem to have met a single one they actually like. Because new Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy in February fired a just-hired deputy Department of Education commissioner with whom the New Jersey Education Association had problems, we hope that Rohanifard was not felled by a similar hidden hand. (Murphy denies that he fired the deputy administrator because the NJEA asked him to do so.)

    Again, it's up to all stakeholders to keep the Camden schools on a path of progress that ultimately will lead them from the constraints of state control. For whatever reason Paymon Rohanifard is leaving, his enthusiasm and his engagement with the community will be difficult to replace.

    The outgoing superintendent was known to drop in on parents' homes to encourage their potential-dropout kids to stay in school. Even the best doctors don't make house calls anymore.

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at sjletters@njadvancemedia.com

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    Petfinder.com, where you can find nearly a quarter of a million adoptable pets listed by more than 12,000 adoption groups, offers these tips to pet owners now that spring is -- finally -- near:

    *  There will be plenty of sticks and branches on the ground after winter, and they can cause choking and severe mouth injuries to dogs. If your pet likes to chew and chase, make sure to use a tennis ball, Frisbee or other toy instead of branches.

    *  You might be doing some spring cleaning; if a pet ingests a household cleaner, don't call a human poison control center - they won't be able to help with animals. Call your vet or the ASPCA poison control hotline, 888-426-4435.

    *  Dogs can get seasonal allergies just like people ... but they manifest themselves in dogs more as skin conditions than sneezing. Check with your vet for treatment options.

    *  Flea and tick prevention for dogs and cats should be continued year-round, but even if you take a break during winter months, make sure to apply the preventatives before the weather warms up.


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    Amber Dudley was 27 and lived in Collingswood, Camden County, when she died in a Trenton robbery gone awry


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    Raul "Omar" Quinones is accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death and seriously wounding her son

    Watia Goldston says that with the benefit of hindsight, she can't help but wonder if she should have done more to make sure her abusive ex-boyfriend couldn't hurt anyone else after she left him.

    goldston.jpgWatia Goldston 

    But the 27-year-old still feared him when she broke it off last year, and his new girlfriend, Elaine Jimenez, was older and seemed like she could take care of herself.

    Raul "Omar" Quinones, 29, stabbed 37-year-old Jimenez to death in front of her Camden home March 25 after also stabbing her 20-year-old son, who survived, authorities allege. He has been charged with murder and is being held in the Camden County Jail.

    Goldston was shocked to read the news, but she said it also confirmed something she'd always believed: that he was capable of violence even more brutal than the blows, hair-pulls and bites he inflicted on her.

    "I always told my sister, 'If I end up dead, Omar did it,'" Goldston said. "To this day I still have flashbacks."

    No violent charges

    Until authorities charged Quinones with murder on March 25, he'd never been charged with a violent crime. That doesn't mean police were unfamiliar with him; he had been convicted on a weapons charge for carrying an air gun and police had responded to numerous noise complaints at his home.

    Officers also helped Goldston safely collect her clothes from Quinones' home in October of 2016, when she said she decided to move out because she was done being beat up. The pair kept up a casual relationship after that, but she purposely never told him where she lived, she said.

    So how does someone who has allegedly beaten multiple women not have any violent incidents on his record?

    Mary Pettrow, associate director of Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Catholic Charities, said there are many barriers that cause women not to report domestic violence. Most come from a place of fear.

    Many worry that if they report what's happening to family, friends, social service agencies or the police, the violence could get worse, Pettrow said.

    It can be hard for a woman in an abusive relationship to leave, especially if they love the abuser and their self-esteem has been under attack. "Sometimes, they're financially dependent and the barrier is actually their inability to move" or support themselves, she said.

    "Because of these reasons, someone who is abusive can be abusive to multiple people with no arrests," she said. That also means the abuser doesn't get the counseling or rehabilitation that might stop the cycle.

    "There's no intervention, so they can just continue that behavior until something happens to interrupt it," Pettrow said.

    'I'd probably be dead'

    Sitting at a picnic table next to the gas station where she worked at the end of March, Goldston described how she first got together with Quinones, who is known around the city because he races motorcycles.

    The first real assault, she said, took place at one of his motorcycle races not long after, in front of several other people. "He was ripping my hair off and beating me up," she said.

    She said she didn't know what to do then, but it's obvious now: "That's when I should have left him, right there."

    He was jealous, snooping on her phone and smacking her if he felt someone was flirting with her online, she said.

    "He'd hit me over if someone just liked my picture" on social media, she said. "Once he was mad he didn't care what he did."

    She was living with him and his family, and she said sometimes they would intervene to protect her. A man at the family's home in Camden declined to speak with a reporter Friday. Neither Quinones or his attorney could be reached for comment about Goldston's allegations.

    Goldston said he bit her hand, drawing blood, after they had been at a wedding in 2016. She said she wasn't even sure what he was mad about. "He took my phone and said, 'You remember this?' and he just started hitting me and he took a chunk out of me," she said.

    When she finally did make real plans to leave, she called a girlfriend to stay with and arranged for the police to meet her at work and take her to the house so she could safely get her things. She believed that she needed officers there "or he'd kill me" for leaving.

    "If I went home that night, I'd probably be dead," she said.

    She said she was not trying to have him arrested, but she did tell the officers who escorted her that he'd been beating her. Police noted it in a report but wrote that she did not have any injuries; Quinones was not charged.

    They kept up a casual sexual relationship after that, she said, but she mostly kept her distance. Even after she stopped seeing him completely, she still didn't think seriously about filing charges, she said.

    A mother and son attacked

    Jimenez was a mother of two who lived in the city's Cramer Hill neighborhood and loved to ride motorcycles and dirt bikes. Quinones, who also has two children, worked on her motorcycle before they started dating, Goldston said. They dated for about a year.

    Police reports about the day Jimenez was killed indicate she was afraid to let him in her house to get his stuff, but she relented after talking with him through a second-floor window.

    When he entered the house, he immediately stabbed her with a pocket knife, witnesses told police. She fled the house, at which point Quinones called her older son downstairs and stabbed him repeatedly, authorities said.

    Then, he followed Jimenez into the street and stabbed her 22 times, authorities said.

    He broke down the door of the house and entered again, speaking to the 20-year-old he had stabbed, then fled on a motorcycle, according to prosecutors.

    At his arraignment March 29, Assistant Prosecutor Peter Crawford said Quinones waived his Miranda rights when he was arrested and confessed to the killing.

    Goldston said it looks to her like her old boyfriend will be sent to prison for a long time. He faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

    "I've been waiting for this, for justice for this man," she said.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at reverett@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    The weather forecast isn't good, but the games are.


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    The girl walked between two cars to attempt to retrieve a ball that went into the street, according to a pastor

    The family of a 5-year-old girl struck and killed by a car Friday afternoon in Camden is "broken" by the tragedy, a local pastor said. 

    perz.jpgSiryah Perez, the 5-year-old Camden girl struck and killed by a vehicle Friday afternoon.  

    Pastor Amir Khan said the parents of Siryah Perez were too distraught to speak at a candlelight vigil held Saturday night in the city. 

    Khan said he was told that the girl, a kindergarten student at Forest Hill Elementary School in the city, walked in between two parked cars to chase a ball that rolled into the street before being hit. Authorities have declined to provide details of how the crash occurred, though have determined it was an accident.

    "It's just a real tragic situation," said Khan, who was one of several speakers at the vigil on Saturday. 

    A school district spokeswoman said grief counselors are being made available to students at Forest Hill and other Camden public schools all week. She also said the elementary school will soon make plans for a fundraiser and a memorial.

    Principal David Corvi and another school official visited the family over the weekend as well. 

    Funeral services for Siryah will be held 11 a.m. Friday at Faith Holy Temple Church on River Road in Camden, according to Khan. 

    The Camden Prosecutor's Office has provided little information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Siryah, who was hit around 3 p.m. on the 1200 block of Princess Avenue.

    The driver stopped after hitting Siryah and no charges have been filed. A prosecutor's office spokesman said the incident appears to have been a "tragic accident," though the investigation is continuing. 

    A spokesman said Monday morning that no update was available. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     


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    Which girls lacrosse teams are without a loss so far this season?


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    He was sought for killing a man and wounding a woman in Camden County.

    Authorities said Monday that Winslow Township police officers shot to death a 55-year-old Pennsville Township man Saturday morning, but have not yet explained why the suspect was shot.

    Jose Pietri was killed by officers around 9 a.m. in Millville, ending a bloody morning that began miles away in Camden County.

    The carnage started early Saturday when police responded to a 911 call about a shooting at a home on Woodhaven Way in Winslow.

    Officers found Derek White, 47, of Salem, shot to death and a 26-year-old Winslow Township woman seriously wounded.

    Police identified Pietri as the suspected gunman and were told that his two kids, ages 2 and 3, were missing. It's unclear if one of the shooting victims was also a parent of the missing children.

    Following the shooting, Winslow officers said they saw Pietri's vehicle near the crime scene and pursued him.

    The chase continued into Cumberland County, where Winslow's officers were joined by a Millville cop on Holly Berry Lane.

    Officials have not described what led to the shooting, but Pierti was declared dead at a hospital a short time later. Prosecutors said a firearm was recovered near his body.

    Pietri's kids were located Saturday afternoon in Salem County, authorities said. Investigators have not said how they got there.

    The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the fatal shooting by the officers.

    Details about what led to the Winslow shootings have not been released.

    The unidentified Winslow woman shot Saturday remains hospitalized, authorities said.

    Anyone with information about the Millville shooting investigation is asked to contact Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office Detective Keith Kanauss at 856-453-0486, ext. 13611. 

    Matt Gray may be reached at mgray@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Find the South Jersey Times on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us: nj.com/tips.

     

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    Who are the best of the best?


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    The programs will focus on hernias, appetite control and osteoporosis.

    Join Kennedy Fitness & Wellness for three FREE community wellness programs to learn about hernias, appetite control and osteoporosis.

    "Help! Is This a Hernia?" will be hosted by Kennedy Health Alliance surgeon Dr. Linda Szczurek at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 24. The program will be at Kennedy Fitness & Wellness in Sewell at 405 Hurffville-Cross Keys Road.

    "Appetite Control: Understanding Your Hunger Hormones" will be hosted by Jefferson Health Registered Dietitian Stephanie Biggs, RD, LDN, CDE. She will discuss "hunger hormones" and ways to effectively control your appetite. This program is set for Thursday, May 24, at 3:30 p.m. at Kennedy Fitness & Wellness located at 3 Hovtech Boulevard in Mount Laurel.

    The final program, "Bone Up on Bone Loss," will be presented by Brian Duffy, PT, DPT, Director of Rehabilitation at Jefferson Health in New Jersey, at 10 a.m., on June 13. This program will be hosted at Kennedy Fitness & Wellness - Medford located at 180 Route 70. It will focus on osteoporosis, risk factors for developing the condition, and lifestyle changes for prevention, among other tips.

    All three programs are free and open to community members of all ages. For more information, or to register, visit www.KennedyIsJefferson.org/classes, or call 1-800-522-1965.

    Have community news you'd like to share? Send an email to sjtowns@njadvancemedia.com. Have an event happening you want to share? Go to nj.com/events to submit your information to be included in a community calendar. 

     

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    A look at some of New Jersey's baseball alumni playing at the Division 1 level in college.


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    The Massachusetts-based brick over pizzeria has 5 New Jersey locations

    Another struggling fast-casual restaurant chain has filed for bankruptcy. 

    Massachusetts-based Bertucci's plans to sell its assets to Right Lane Dough Acquisitions, which plans to keep most of its locations open, it said in a statement Monday.

    Known for its brick-oven pizzas and other Italian dishes, Bertucci is about $119 million in debt, according to a federal court filing in Delaware. The company employs 4,200 workers, about three-quarters of whom are part-time.

    Bertucci's has New Jersey locations in Hazlet, the Sicklerville section of Gloucester Township, the Marlton section of Evehsam, Mount Laurel and Woodbridge. Bertucci's operates restaurants in 11 states along the East Coast.

    The 34 most popular restaurant chains in New Jersey, from least to most popular

    "With the rise in popularity of quick-casual restaurants and oversaturation of the restaurant industry as a whole, Bertucci's -- and the casual family dining sector in general -- has been affected by a prolonged negative operating trend in an ever increasing competitive price environment," according to court papers filed by the company. "Consumers have more options than ever for spending discretionary income, and their preferences continue to shift towards cheaper, faster alternatives."

    Levine Leichtman Capital Properties owns Bertucci's.

    Romano's Macaroni Grill and Logan's Roadhouse have also filed for bankruptcy in recent years.

    A Bertucci's spokesman didn't immediately return a phone call and an email from NJ Advance Media asking bout the fate of the chain's five restaurants in New Jersey.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Check out the second set of conference players of the week.


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    Authorities charged him after a review of "digital media devices" at his home

    A local news editor in Cherry Hill was arrested and charged Tuesday morning after Camden County officials conducted a search of his home and found child pornography, Camden County prosecutors said. 

    Timothy Ronaldson, 35, of Cherry Hill was present during the search and arrested without incident, prosecutors said. 

    Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 3.25.34 PM.pngTimothy Ronaldson (Police photo) 

    Detectives found "numerous digital devices" that were sent to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office's high tech crimes forensic lab to be analyzed. 

    Ronaldson is the editor-in-chief for Newspaper Media Group LLC, which publishes local newspapers in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties. 

    The prosecutor's office said after Ronaldson was arrested at his residence and processed at Cherry Hill Police Department, he was released from custody.

    Employees at Newspaper Media Group did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon. 

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.comFollow her on Twitter @By_paigegross. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Conference pitchers and hitters of week for games April 9-15, 2018.


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    Flip-flop at the very top, other changes


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    Make your voice heard! Who is the state's best senior pitcher?


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    7 N.J. companies made the top 100 most reputable list for 2018


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