ROSELLE, NJ — More violence has rocked the Borough of Roselle, as vandals struck both the home of Roselle Mayor Christine Dansereau and former borough councilwoman Sylvia Turnage last week.
Both homes were hit the same night, in the early hours of January 12.
On the same night of the incidents, shots were heard ringing out on East 3rd Avenue near Linden Road, near the homes of Roselle councilmen Reginald Atkins and Yves Aubourg, and those shots reportedly struck Atkins’s home and car.
This is the second time that Dansereau’s home has been vandalized. The first incident occurred in June, when a large rock was thrown through the mayor’s bay window and storm door. This time, a brick was thrown at the mayor’s home and one of her shutters and an awning was damaged.
Dansereau told LocalSource that she did not initially notice the brick or the damage.
“I got in my car this morning and went to work,” Dansereau said the day of the incident.
The mayor said that afternoon, she was alerted to a large brick lying on her lawn and a hole in the shutter.
“I called the police and they took pictures,” she said.
Turnage told LocalSource that her daughter was woken up by the incident, which occurred in the early hours of the morning.
“The brick came through my picture window at 4:04 a.m.,” Turnage said in a phone call.
According to Turnage, her daughter looked at the clock immediately after the incident. After taking pictures of the damage, Turnage said she went down to the police station to report the incident.
Turnage said the mayor’s allies have allegedly been targeted, and cited prior incidents involving car vandalisms of several of the mayor’s close allies.
“I’m not the only one,” Turnage said. “This is par for the course. It’s all derived from issues with Jamel Holley,” she alleged of the state assemblyman and former mayor of the borough.
Dansereau is currently in a legal dispute with Holley, after she accused Holley of verbal harassment and bullying. The complaint against Holley is proceeding in Clark municipal court and may head back to court as early as February.
Turnage believes the incidents are retaliatory against the mayor and anyone who supports her.
“What are the chances of a town the size of Roselle having all these incidents?” Turnage said.
Turnage said the council people have stated after past incidents that vandalism happens, but she’s not buying it.
“I’m even more determined than ever,” she said.
Turnage believes that she might have been targeted because she showed up in court both times for Dansereau’s case against Holley.
“It could be because of that,” Turnage said.
Atkins, whose home was reportedly
targeted by gunfire the same night, told LocalSource that although his family is safe, he is concerned about what he believes are incidents of harassment.
“My family and I are safe. Thanks to God,” Atkins said in an email. “I am concerned and frustrated. My wife and I, along with my neighbors, heard gunshots in front of my home about 1:15 a.m. that morning. I got out of the bed and checked the kids as they were sleeping.”
Atkins said his daughter asked him what the noise was, and he said it sounded like gunshots.
“I looked out of the windows and didn’t see anything out of the normal,’ Atkins said. “My wife, while trying to open her trunk, realized a large bullet hole was on the back side of her car. She called the police and they found two bullet casings on the ground in front of my driveway. It appears they were shooting at my house in the middle of the night while my family was sleeping. I, like other loving fathers, am upset and concerned for the safety of my family.”
Atkins said that he has complained during executive sessions of the council that members of the council were being targeted, but to no avail.
“I’m frustrated,” Atkins said. “I filed a report of harassment a few months ago and the municipal judge found no probable cause, I complained about council members being attacked at executive sessions. … The council complained about personal attacks and threats from certain people that come to the council meetings and we are ignored, and now it is escalating to bullet holes in my wife’s vehicle and my vehicle being vandalized. This is a sad day for Roselle when people take their personal political agendas to this level.”
Aubourg did not respond to request for comment as of press time.
Roselle Councilwoman Kim Shaw commented on the situation.
“I know the alleged acts of vandalism at the homes of the mayor and former councilwoman are under investigation by the Roselle Police Department, as are the shots that were fired at Councilman Atkins’
home and car on the same day,” Shaw told LocalSource in an email. “The council deplores any criminal activities and are confident that the RPD will investigate thoroughly and work diligently to resolve these matters.”
Shaw believes that individuals who have been behaving inappropriately on social media and at council meetings may have taken things one step further.
“I’ve been apart of this community for 20 years and have always felt safe,” Shaw said. “Unfortunately, there are a few individuals who have recently displayed inappropriate behavior on social media, at council meetings and, it appears, may be taking it further. However, these few
people do not represent this community as a whole and do not reflect the values we hold dear. I refuse to give them the power they seek.”
LocalSource reached out to the Roselle Police Department for comment multiple times, but was unable to reach anyone as of press time. LocalSource also put in
two OPRA requests regarding the incidents but have not received a response as of