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2 charged in N.J. shooting that wounded firefighter inside station

A Trenton police spokesperson said Kena West and Zaequan Cofield were firing at another person or persons in the area


Kevin Shea

TRENTON, N.J. —Two Trenton men have been arrested on charges related to the gunfire last month that wounded a city firefighter as he worked out in a firehouse gym, city police say.

Kena West, 25, and Zaequan Cofield, 21, were apprehended Saturday.

West is charged with attempted murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault and illegal firearm possession. Cofield is charged with several firearm charges, including unlawfully possessing armor-penetrating bullets as well as a defaced firearm.

A Trenton police spokesperson said West and Cofield were together during the shooting, at about 8:30 p.m. on April 26, and firing at another person or persons in the area of North Willow Street in the North 25 apartments. Police previously said they found 11 spent bullet casings in the apartments.

One of the bullets went through a second-floor window at the back of the Calhoun Street firehouse, which borders the apartments, and struck a firefighter in the arm. Police said West’s gun fired that shot.

The firefighter, Kevin Soto, identified himself the following day in a Facebook post and thanked people for reaching out the night before.

He described the incident to NJ Advance Media, saying he heard multiple shots and thought they were fireworks before ducking. Then he felt a burning sensation in his left arm and realized he’d been shot. He was taken to a city hospital for treatment.

Soto said another firefighter he was working out with had just left the room to get a drink of water. “I am just thankful that nobody else was hurt,” Soto said. He is assigned to Engine Co. 1, which shares the station with Ladder Co. 1.

West and Cofield remained jailed in Mercer County Wednesday awaiting court appearances in Superior Court.

Each was indicted in January by the state Attorney General’s Office on firearm charges for allegedly being passengers on a party bus police stopped on Interstate 195 in Hamilton outside the city this past Halloween, Oct. 31, 2022. The New Jersey State Police has said they were tipped off that a group of people, some armed, were driving around Mercer County in a party bus.

Several officers stopped the bus and detained 15 people and seized six handguns and related ammunition. Fourteen of the suspects were young men from Trenton and one was an Atlanta resident. That case is pending.


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