Two Jersey City, New Jersey, men who were involved in a shootout made their initial court appearances today on charges that they possessed ammunition as previously convicted felons.
Shamir Blunt, 35, and Mark Franklin, 29, are charged by criminal complaint with one count each of being felons in possession of ammunition. Blunt and Franklin made their initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court and were detained.
According to cting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig and documents filed in this case during the early morning hours of May 23, 2021, Blunt was standing on the sidewalk in front of a bodega in the Grove Street area of Jersey City.
Franklin parked across the street, got out of his car, and started arguing with Blunt, who walked to the bodega and opened the door.
As Blunt entered the bodega, Franklin punched him in the face several times.
The two struggled until Franklin pulled a gun out and fired a shot.
Police later recovered a 9-millimeter shell casing from Franklin’s gun inside the bodega.
Franklin then left the store and put the gun back inside his hoodie.
Emerging from the bodega, Blunt ran at Franklin and shot at him twice from close range.
Franklin fell to the ground, and then he pulled out his own firearm and returned fire. The two men continued to exchange gun shots from across the street.
Franklin and Blunt shot at each other over 15 times, and both men were hit.
The gunmen eventually got in their cars, sped away, and went to Jersey City Medical Center where police later found each of their cars parked outside.
Police also collected their clothing from the hospital, which matched the clothing they were wearing during the firefight.
Police also later found at least nine 9-millimeter shell casings from Franklin’s gun and at least four 9-millimeter shell casings from Blunt’s gun. They also found several bullets lodged in parked cars and in windows of nearby businesses.
At the time, both Blunt and Franklin had at least one prior felony conviction.
The felon in possession of ammunition charges carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Honig credited task force officers of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews, with the investigation. She also thanked the Jersey City Police Department for their assistance.
The government is represented by Acting Chief of the Violent Crimes Unit Jason S. Gould of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Mark Franklin was tackled, arrested and charged with aggravated assault and weapons offenses, after leading police on a chase and tossing a gun onto roof after they spotted him waving the firearm outside Al’s Diner on Communipaw Avenue on May 13, 2012.
Police responding to the report of a September 17, 2011 robbery at a clothing store at 779 Bergen Avenue, chased Blunt and another suspect after the two men were identified by three robbery victims.
The officer who followed Blunt saw the suspect throw a small handgun in front of a Stuyvesant Avenue building, before catching him.