If you drove down the residential street of Gilford Avenue 5 p.m. Sunday, you'd see no police tape and sirens blocking traffic. Police and investigators did not line the road Sunday evening as they had for a large part of Saturday.
But police work remains under way, as officers continue to investigate an incident that turned a birthday party into a reported shooting Friday night.
Gilford Avenue, on the north side of Route 37, was the scene of a shooting 11:30 p.m. Friday, where Toms River Police, the Ocean County Prosecutors Office and the Ocean County Sheriff's Department sent personnel to investigate.
Police said a home on Gilford Avenue was hosting a 21-year-old's birthday party, when one young male was shot. Injured, he sought help at a neighboring home. A helicopter transported the victim to Jersey Shore Trauma Center.
"Numerous people were attending a 21-year old's birthday party when the shooting erupted," Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said Saturday morning. "The victim ran to a neighbor's home looking for help."
While the road was closed for the ongoing investigation into a shooting on Gilford Avenue from 11:30 p.m. Friday and onward, on Sunday evening the street had opened and was quiet.
Front yards with children's toys, and fences with Beware of Dog signs stood beneath humid summer skies on a street that has a combination of new and older homes, two-stories and ranches, and three bedroom homes and small cottages.
11:30 a.m. Sunday, the Ocean County Prosecutors Office released a statement on the shooting, saying the victim remained hospitalized and that the investigation continued.
after the shooting, police were called to Community Medical Center, where a stabbing victim had been transported by friends. The victim, Kevin Copes, 24 of Lakewood, died from his injuries, and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office has charged Steven Rosado, 20, of Lakewood, with murder.
Was the incident with the Gilford Avenue violence and the hospital stabbing victim somehow related? Investigators said they have not ruled it out.
"The Prosecutor’s Office and the Toms River Township Police Department are also investigating a shooting which occurred in the Guilford Park section of Toms River, at or about the same time," said Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford in a prepared statement. "We are not at liberty at this time to rule out any connection between the two incidents."
The prosecutors office announced Copes had died as a result of the stabbing, which police said may have occurred at the Briar Knolls apartment complex off Route 166.
Information on the Gilford Avenue shooting victim has not been released.
However, Ford did say the shooting victim remains hospitalized but is recovering.
"The victim in that shooting is expected to recover from his injuries, notwithstanding that the injuries were certainly life threatening,” Ford said.
Both incidents remain under investigation.
Anyone with information may contact Sgt. Carlos Trujillo-Tovar of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, or the Toms River Township Police Department at 732-349-0150.