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Women shot in front of Camden barbershop were recent high school grads

August 12, 2016

CAMDEN — Eugene's Barbershop, located in a mostly residential area at 818 South 6th St. closes around 5 p.m. After that time, according to neighbors, people often hang out on an old couch that sits right in front of the shop.

Residents said that's where two women were when they were shot Monday at 8:46 p.m.

Braniya James, 21, of Camden, died minutes later. Essynce Blakney, 18, also of Camden, was hospitalized at Cooper University Hospital, according to the Camden County prosecutor's office.

They were both graduates of Camden High School, according to a school spokesman. Blakney had only graduated a month and a half ago, while James graduated in 2015.

Robert English, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, said Wednesday that he had no new information to release about the investigation, including whether any arrests had been made.

If anyone called 911 or came to the aid of the two victims after the gunshots rang out, the prosecutor's office didn't mention it in its press release about the incident.

Police went to the scene because the city's ShotSpotter notified them of multiple gunshots in the area, according to the statement. There, they found two women suffering from gunshot wounds.

Blakney was listed in stable condition Tuesday, the prosecutor's office said. A hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday that she could not give an update on Blakney's condition because she or her family have requested the hospital not release the information.

All three were from Camden City.

Several neighbors in the 800 block of South 6th St. said Tuesday that they did not know James or Blakney or what might have led to the shooting. A few said that the area outside the barbershop draws a bad crowd after hours. Others said it was rather shocking to hear that women were the victims, as most shootings in the city involve men.

James' death is the 29th homicide in the city this year and the second in three days — and only the third woman to be killed in Camden this year.

A vigil was held Tuesday afternoon in her memory and to remember others killed in the city.

NJ.com: Camden NJ