The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has charged two men in the slaying of Joseph Micalizzi, an NJIT junior from Freehold who was shot in the course of a burglary early Monday at the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) house at 317 MLK Blvd. Both men, an 18-year-old from Irvington and a 22-year- old from Newark, are in custody.
“On behalf of the entire NJIT community, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for the outstanding efforts of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Newark Police Department and NJIT’s Public Safety Department in breaking this case so swiftly,” said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom.
“We are so appreciative for the outpouring of support that we have received from so many, including Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Ras Baraka, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, our college partners in the University Heights neighborhood and many other friends of our university during this difficult time,” he added. “This is our campus’s worst tragedy in the 25 years I have been here.”
The NJIT community continues to mourn the loss of Micalizzi, 23, a mechanical engineering major who transferred to NJIT from Brookdale Community College, made the dean’s list last fall and quickly secured the affection, respect and loyalty from friends on campus, his TKE fraternity brothers and his professors.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with Joseph’s family at this time, as well as with his many friends and admirers,” Bloom said.
“Our hearts go out to the members of the family as well as the NJIT community,” said Carolyn Murray, acting Essex County prosecutor, in announcing the charges in the case at a press conference Friday. “This is the loss of a promising young man who from every indication was poised to make a great contribution to the State of New Jersey.”
Murray said the crime appeared to be “a very straightforward robbery where what was sought was cash.”
In the wake of the shooting, law enforcement officials from the city of Newark, NJIT and Rutgers University – Newark are working closely together to bolster security in the University Heights neighborhood, including expanding joint policing operations.
“We have been working with Newark police in recent weeks on a number of initiatives that have proved successful in reducing street crime, including joint patrols in the second precinct,” NJIT Police Chief Joseph Marswillo said Tuesday. “We are going to expand these joint efforts, such as our walking police units that patrol MLK Blvd. around the clock, as well as our ongoing information sharing.”
Newark police have also recently begun periodically deploying some of their new police officers on foot in James Street Commons and plan to increase the frequency of those patrols, while expanding their grids to include the James Street Commons and University Heights communities.
“We have enhanced patrols in the area,” Anthony Ambrose, Newark’s acting public safety director, said at Friday’s press conference. “We always have been a partner with the college police departments and we are going to continue.”
“NJIT is a safe campus. It is always bustling with people, with activity. It’s one of the best institutions we have in the State of New Jersey and we’re proud of it. We’re going to do what we can in combination with the NJIT police department and all of the other forces at the universities to make sure those young people are safe while they’re there,” said Baraka, who called Micalizzi’s death a “devastating” loss.