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TWO CHARGED IN WEARY NEWARK

Now school killings have suspects, but the search and sorrow goes on.

Amid the anger, tears and heartache over the recent execution-style killings of three college-bound young people in Newark, there is also a sense of resignation that the slayings are an all-too-familiar part of everyday life.

"Murder is the norm," said resident Don Franklin, 49, who coaches youth football. "Just because these kids are college kids, it's getting more attention."

On Saturday night, in a schoolyard riddled with gang graffiti, three students - Terrance Aeriel, 18; Dashon Harvey, 20; and Iofemi Hightower, 20 - were lined up against a wall, forced to kneel and shot in the head. A fourth, Natasha Aeriel, 19, Terrance's sister, survived after being shot near the ear.

Two of them attended Delaware State University, and two planned to join them this fall.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced Thursday that a 15-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the shootings. The youth was taken into custody late Wednesday night, Booker said, based on evidence from the crime scene and information from Natasha Aeriel.

Another suspect, Jose Carranza, 28, surrendered Thursday and is charged with murder, robbery, attempted murder and weapons offenses - the same crimes as the 15-year-old, prosecutors said. Detectives believe other individuals were involved as well, and the investigation is continuing.

"This is a major manhunt," said Paula Dow, the Essex County prosecutor.

Authorities have said robbery appeared to be the motive.

The schoolyard killings have caused an outcry about the murder rate, which remains stubbornly high after the election of Booker, who took office asking to be judged by his ability to reduce crime.

Other cities, including Boston, Philadelphia and Orlando, have in recent years experienced an increase in murders after years of falling homicide rates.

In Newark, there have been 60 homicides so far this year. Last year at this time, 63 people had been killed, a number that grew to 105 by year's end, the highest total since the crack epidemic of the mid 1990s.

Sixty-one percent of those recently polled by the Newark Star-Ledger said crime is the city's biggest problem - up from 27 percent 10 years ago - and 48 percent said if they had the money, they would leave town.

The harrowing story of last weekend's shooting could suggest why.

The four friends had been listening to music and joking around behind Mount Vernon School. Authorities said that about 11:30 p.m., they sensed menace from others in the schoolyard and text-messaged each other that it was time to go home.

Instead, soon Natasha Aeriel was shot near the ear. Amid apparent struggle, the others were lined up at gunpoint against a low wall, shot in the head and killed.

"He had dreams of going to school and getting out of the ghetto," said Ralpfe'ah Clark, 19, of her friend Terrance Aeriel. "They left this life in the worst way possible."

She, like a half-dozen others interviewed for this article, could name other friends whose lives were cut off by gunfire.

"My friend was the 101st victim" of last year, said Ivette Calo, 34, who works for Verizon, adding that her neighbor was killed the year before that. "I was a girl brought up in the street. Now I'm scared of the younger generation."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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