36-year-old city resident Raheem Thomas has been arrested on aggravated assault and weapons charges early Monday morning for his involvement in the Montclair Avenue triple shooting, according to police.
Police said Thomas was identified as the alleged actor in the initial incident that occurred inside Montclair Deli and Grill and spilled out into the streets. A group including, hometown rapper Willie Maxwell – stage name Fetty Wap – became involved in a heated altercation inside the deli when a second group entered the store on the corner of Montclair Avenue and Paxton Street.
A man was assaulted with a firearm inside the deli, according to police. The altercation spilled onto the street and shots were fired. Three men ages 34, 37, and 33 were wounded in the shooting which occurred at about 4 a.m. on Sunday.
Police located the 34-year-old Woodland Park man on Montclair Avenue and Paxton Street and the 37-year-old Paterson man on Montclair Avenue and Main Street. Both victims were taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center for treatment. A third victim arrived at Hackensack University Medical Center seeking treatment.
Detectives Michael Quinones, Ricardo Ferreira, Christopher Ravallese, Joehan Suarez, and detective sergeant Anthony Hyatt arrested Thomas at his North 3rd Street home early Monday morning.
A hip hop dispute appears to be at center of conflict between the two groups.
Thomas’ group “Muscle Team” has been involved in heated exchanges with Wap’s group “RGF” over the past three months over who allegedly controls and runs Paterson’s drug and rap scene. Thomas’ group also made what is called a “dis” video attacking Wap’s group. The second video shows a man urinating on a wall graffiti that features palm trees with text, “RGF Island.”
In an earlier video, Wap is seen affronting Thomas’ group by stating, “Paterson, New Jersey is RGF the f**king Island.” This appears to have deeply offended Thomas’ group. Thomas’ group has called Wap a “fake gangster” and issued other attacks aimed at undermining the rapper’s credibility with his fans.
Police said the investigation is continuing at this time.
“The investigators worked tirelessly to piece together this investigation and will continue accordingly,” said police director Jerry Speziale.