Gunman opens fire at hundreds at house party in New Jersey

Hundreds of young people a house party in the US found themselves under fire and fleeing for their lives after a gunman stormed the home and began firing.

At least two people have been confirmed dead and a dozen have been injured at the house party in Cumberland County — quiet, rural community 80km south of Philadelphia — New Jersey State police said.

Police were called to the scene just before midnight Saturday, said they arrived to find the bodies of a 30-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman. One of the wounded partygoers was hospitalised in critical condition, police said in a statement.

A relative of one of those at the party told local news there were horror scenes as the gunman opened fire.

“My nephew said he was having a good time, next thing he heard was shooting and he was running for his life,” John Fuqua said.

“He was on the ground. He had to crawl. He had to step over a dead body, a dead body that would be eventually be identified as a young man he grew up with.”

Across the street from the house, the Rev. Michael Keene, of Trinity AME Church, said he initially thought fireworks were going off.

“I just started hearing at first what I thought was fireworks, it was really gunshots, and I heard nine in rapid succession,” Keene told WPVI.

“If you’re going to a party, why do you need to take a gun?” he asked. “If you’re there to have a good time why do you need a gun with you? That means you’re expecting trouble to me.”

On Sunday, police with search dogs were patrolling the perimeter of the large property and detectives swept the front lawn with metal detectors.

The gunman fled the scene and is still at large.

“No arrests have been made, and the motive and incident remain under investigation,” police said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called the shooting “despicable and cowardly”.

“Since late last night, the New Jersey State Police and county and local law enforcement in Cumberland County have been investigating the horrific mass shooting at a large house party in Fairfield Township that attracted hundreds of partygoers,” Murphy said in a statement Sunday.

“At this time, at least two people have lost their lives, among numerous other shooting victims, including several with injuries that are life-threatening. We hold those who have died, and their families, in our prayers today, and we also pray for the recoveries of those injured. We are grateful for the swift response of law enforcement and stand with them as they continue their investigation,” he said.

“Let there be no mistake: This despicable and cowardly act of gun violence only steels our commitment to ensuring New Jersey leads the nation in passing and enforcing strong and commonsense gun safety laws. No community should ever experience what occurred last night in Fairfield.”

There have been 224 mass shootings in America this year so far, according to the Gun Violence Achive.

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