Alleged shooter Marcus Feliz, 25, is not a student of Rutgers.
An arrest has been made in the murder of Shani Patel, a 21-year-old Rutgers University student from Toms River, New Jersey. Patel was shot dead and his roommate critically injured in their off-campus apartment, last Sunday. A reward of $10,000 had been posted for information leading to the arrest of the culprit(s).
Marcus Feliz, 25, of Newark was charged with murder, felony murder and robbery, according to a statement from Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, reported Mycentraljersey.com. His bail was set at $750,000. Feliz is not a Rutgers University student and is not affiliated with the university.
Patel’s 23-year-old roommate, who graduated from the school last year, was wounded and hospitalized, according to Essex County Prosecutorâ€™s Office spokeswoman Katherine Carter.
There has been reports to suggest that Patelâ€™s death could have been a result of drug violence.
NJ Advance MediaÂ had earlier cited sources close to the investigation sayingÂ a substantial amount of drugs and money were found at the intersection of Central Ave. and Halsey Street in Newark, close to where Patel, an economics major, was shot dead in his off-campus apartment, and that the incident may have been a drug-related robbery.
101.5 FM Radio reported that Patel was sentenced to two years probation in 2014 in Toms River after police found him inside a car with 50 grams of marijuana, three empty sandwich bags and a digital scale.
Law enforcement sources told NJ Advance Media that the shooting that left Patel dead and his roommate seriously injured, is being investigated as a possible narcotics robbery gone wrong.
NJ Advance Media reported that Patel was still dealing with the fallout from a 2013 drug conviction at the time of his death, according to court documents. Court documents indicate Patel had intent to distribute the drugs found on him.
Patelâ€™s probationary period began in December 2015, after he lost an appeal challenging the police search that led to his arrest. According to court documents, a Tomâ€™s River police officer responding to complaints of men smoking marijuana inside a parked vehicle discovered four sandwich bags filled with marijuana and a digital scale inside Patelâ€™s car.
Patel pleaded guilty on June 16, 2014, to the marijuana offense and was sentenced on Sept. 5 of that year by Superior Court Judge Rochelle Gizinski in Ocean County to two years on probation. In December of the following year, an appeals court ruled that the search was lawful, the documents indicate.
Patel graduated from Toms River High School North in 2012.