Todd West, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is charged with seven counts of murder, as well as multiple weapons charges

By Tara Fowler
Updated July 10, 2015 08:45 AM
Advertisement
Union County Prosecutor's Office

Police have arrested a man and charged him with killing seven people over the course of two months in what prosecutors are calling an “unprecedented” killing spree.

Todd West, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is charged with seven counts of murder, as well as multiple weapons charges, The New York Times reports. “This is an unprecedented, horrific event here in Union County,” Grace H. Park, the acting Union County prosecutor, said during a news conference Thursday.

Cops are baffled by the violence displayed by the 22-year-old West, whom they finally apprehended in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Monday – but only after he’d shot and killed three people the day before.

In late June, authorities desperately pursued West for 20 hours in Elizabeth while he moved from crime scene to crime scene, killing three people and injuring a fourth – for no reason at all, it appeared.

The violence began on June 25 at 2:30 a.m. local time, when cops responded to reports of gunshots fired. They found 28-year-old Dennis Vega’s body lying at the intersection of New Point Road and Seventh Street. He’d been shot multiple times.

That night, at just before 10 p.m., police were once again called in to investigate reports of shots fired and a body in the street. This time they found Jamil Payne, 29.

It was while they were at that crime scene that West allegedly struck again less than a mile away. Police found Kelvin Nelson, 32, dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

And just 10 minutes after that call came in, 24-year-old Richard Marte was discovered with severe bullet wounds, two miles from where Nelson’s body was found. He is expected to recover.

Investigators linked the shootings after they determined that the bullets had all been fired from the same .38-caliber, six-shot revolver.

However, by they time they identified West as a suspect, he had fled.

They finally tracked him down on Monday in Pennsylvania after yet another night of violence. At 3 a.m. on Sunday, police found the body of Kory Ketrow, 22, in Easton. An hour later, the body of 32-year-old Francine E. Ramos was discovered in Allentown. A third man, Trevor Davanta Gray, 21, was also shot in Allentown by West and died while being treated by paramedics.

West was also charged in the May 18 killing of his cousin Michael Tompkins, 29. Prosecutors say he only appeared to have known two of the victims – Tompkins and Payne.

Two accomplices, Robert Jourdain and Kareem Mitchell, have been charged in connection with the Pennsylvania shootings, PIX 11 reports.

West, who was released from jail in October after being imprisoned for a year and a half on drug and other charges, is being held on $5.5 million bail. He has not yet entered a plea to the new charges.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.