Arrest made in fatal stabbing of Orange woman
Courtesy Essex County Prosecutor's Office
By ERIN ROLL
Ahighah Broomes, 21, of Orange, has been arrested and charged with the fatal stabbing of Akirah Townes that occurred today, April 27.
Townes, 20, of Orange, was stabbed outside of a home on Hartley Street around 6 a.m., according to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino and Montclair Police Chief Todd Conforti.
Townes was taken to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, where she was pronounced dead at 6:42 a.m., according to authorities.
Broomes turned himself in at the Orange Police Headquarters, according to authorities.
"It appears that the victim and suspect were in a relationship at some point in the past. As detectives were searching for Broomes, he turned himself in at the Orange Police Headquarters," according to a press release by the Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino and Montclair Police Chief Todd Confort.
Townes was attempting to leave for a trip to Virginia Beach, according to the statement.
Cynthia Kettles, a Hartley Street resident, told Montclair Local that she and her boyfriend, Marques Holland, were awakened at 5:30 a.m. by the sound of arguing beneath their window. The arguing became louder until it turned into screaming, she said.
There was a group of people outside, including Townes and the alleged attacker, and Holland tried to pull the alleged suspect off of Townes. A friend of Townes' jumped into a car and tried to drive for help. By that time, police were coming down Bloomfield Avenue, so the friend stopped the car and went to speak with police. The suspect disappeared from the area, she said.
Later Friday, police came back to canvas the neighborhood with photos of the suspect.
"Everyone's pretty rattled, everyone's nerves are through the roof," Kettles said. "You don't expect something like this. I'm sad, my feelings are everywhere. I feel bad for her family, I'm mad that I had to be a witness to that sort of thing."
Within hours of Townes' death, friends and loved ones posted their grief and sorrow on her Facebook page.
Jeff Becket, the owner of the New Creation Unisex salon on the corner of Hartley and Bloomfield, said that he and his staff arrived at 7 a.m. to open the shop and saw a large number of police cars in the area.