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Teen Charged in Stabbing at Ocean City Boardwalk

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During a May 30 news conference, Police Chief Bill Campbell outlines Ocean City's response to the trouble over the Memorial Day weekend.

By MADDY VITALE

Police arrested a teenager on attempted murder charges for a stabbing on the Ocean City Boardwalk during a tumultuous Memorial Day weekend of fighting and other crimes in the resort town.

In a news release Wednesday, Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland and Ocean City Police Chief Bill Campbell announced the arrest of a Pleasantville teen for allegedly stabbing a 15-year-old boy on the Boardwalk on Saturday, May 25.

“Through diligent investigative work, including witness interviews, surveillance footage review, and other investigative analysis, the investigating detectives were able to identify a juvenile suspect,” Sutherland and Campbell said in the release.

With the assistance of both the Hamilton Township and Pleasantville police departments, the suspect was located and taken into custody in Pleasantville on Tuesday.

In addition to attempted murder, the juvenile is charged with aggravated assault and weapons offenses. His identity was not released because he is a minor.

On the night of the stabbing, at about 9:12 p.m., police received a 911 call regarding an assault and responded to 10th Street and the Boardwalk, where groups of juveniles were fighting.

The 15-year-old boy sustained lacerations and a stab wound to the abdomen. He was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

More police officers will patrol the Boardwalk this summer.

On May 30, Mayor Jay Gillian, Campbell and other city, county and state officials held a news conference in front of the Ocean City Music Pier to outline measures they are taking to curb rowdy teen behavior.

Gillian and Campbell repeatedly sought to reassure the public that Ocean City remains a safe, welcoming and family-friendly vacation destination poised for a successful summer tourism season.

“Everybody who loves Ocean City can be rest assured this summer will be a great one. We’re not blaming anybody. We are Ocean City. We are the safest town. That’s why people come here,” Gillian said.

A fight involving a group of teens from Atlantic City, Pleasantville and Mays Landing who knew each other led to the stabbing, Campbell said during the Boardwalk news conference.

“This was a targeted engagement between these juveniles. There were no other individuals who were targeted. Once this group was under control and removed from the Boardwalk, order and civility was restored in approximately 60 to 90 minutes,” he said.

Sutherland praised the collaboration between the law enforcement agencies involved in the stabbing investigation.

“The arrest of the suspect in this case is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of all the detectives and officers involved. This cooperative effort underscores our commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our community,” Sutherland said in the release.

Beaches are closed at 8 p.m. as part of the city’s strategy to prevent trouble.

Altogether, police brought 23 teens into the police station for fighting, shoplifting and other offenses during the holiday weekend. Police also issued more than 1,300 warnings for drinking alcohol in public, smoking marijuana, curfew violations and other infractions.

Teens who were brought in by police for “stationhouse adjustments” were released to the custody of their parents and can avoid formal charges by performing community service, Campbell said.

The city cracked down on rowdy teens in 2023 by closing the beaches at 8 p.m., shutting down Boardwalk bathrooms at 10 p.m. and imposing an 11 p.m. curfew on juveniles on the Ocean City streets and the Boardwalk.

Gillian and Campbell said the curfews and other crime-fighting measures approved in 2023 remain in place for this summer.