Arts Center shooter nabbed in Essex County

Quran Powell was charged with shooting two men at PNC Arts Center. Photo: Courtesy State PoliceQuran Powell was charged with shooting two men at PNC Arts Center. Photo: Courtesy State Police

HOLMDEL — A township man and convicted drug dealer was arrested in East Orange for the the shooting of two people at PNC Bank Arts Center.

Quran Powell, 27, of Holmdel, was arrested by a task force of State Police and East Orange police officers, state police said in a prepared statement.

Powell is accused of shooting two men multiple times late Monday in the arts center’s Parking Lot 4 after a hip-hop concert there. The men are still in critical but stable condition, police said.

By Wednesday, state and Monmouth County investigators identified Powell as a suspect and searched his township home. They discovered evidence that he might be hiding out in East Orange. He was arrested without incident at an apartment there, police said.

Powell was charged with two counts of attempted homicide, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

A third charge — the awkwardly phrased — “certain persons not to possess a firearm” can only be applied to people with prior felony convictions, said Sgt. Jeff Flynn, a State Police spokesman.

Flynn said the state police could not provide a background check on Powell. However, according to records curated by Data Universe, Powell was convicted Jan. 27, 2012 on a third degree drug distribution charge Monmouth County.

Powell will be tried in the Monmouth courts, and remains in custody at Monmouth County Jail in Freehold in lieu of $750,000 bail.