Family of slain Rahway NJ sneaker store owner pays tribute to his life


RAHWAY – Six years later the unsolved fatal shooting of her 21-year-old son, Jamal “Mally” GainesTina Wilson said what she missed the most was her laugh.

“It was his sister and I, always the three of us, and it was always fun. Every day was like a party, whether we were joking with each other or working hard, we just laughed it off.” Wilson said.

To mark the anniversary of the tragic Feb. 26, 2016, shooting of Gaines at the downtown sneaker store he owned and operated, two events have been scheduled.

“We just want to have fun. I don’t want a day of tears and crying. There might be a little bit of tearing and crying, but not all the time because he wouldn’t want that,” Wilson said.

Tina Wilson holds a photo of her son, Jamal "Mally" Sheaths.

At 8 a.m. Saturday about 20 people will take part in a 5k run for Mally which starts at the tree planted for Gaines at 1670 Irving St. This is the second year of the run, which benefits the Jamal Gaines Foundation.

The Sixth Anniversary Awareness Expo featuring a jazz band, open-mic poetry readings and singing, comedy, vendors, and a raffle for $500 in sneakers, is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Rahway Senior Center, 1306 Esterbrook Ave. be offered by Cuban Pete’s in Montclair, one of Gaines’ favorite restaurants.

“The goal is to have that jazzy feel when you go to New York,” Wilson said.

Case closed:Who killed 21-year-old businessman Jamal Gaines

Wilson said the nonprofit Jamal Gaines Foundation was created a few months after his son’s death because he wanted a program named in his memory to raise scholarships for the boys.

“On his birthday and his birthday, we always do something to raise money and give back,” she said.

“It’s very difficult for his sister and myself, so we said how can we give back knowing that he died for a reason,” she said, adding that these events attract her friends and raise awareness. “A lot of people are reaching out to see how they can be better in his honor.”

At approximately 9:15 p.m. on February 26, 2016, a Friday, members of the Rahway Police Department responded to the East Coast Shop on the 1500 block of Irving Street where they found Gaines, who had suffered a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead a short time later.

An investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, Rahway Police and the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit determined that minutes before police arrived , two people with their faces obscured by fabric entered the store through a back door. A physical struggle ensued which ended when Gaines was fatally shot.

jamal "Mally" Gaines, the owner of East Coast Boutique, was shot outside the store.

The pair then ran out of the building through the back door and were spotted in surveillance footage running down a back alley, with one showing a pronounced limp.

The limping person appeared to be wearing dark pants, light-colored sneakers, and a dark hoodie with a light-colored patch on the left arm. The other suspect appeared to be wearing a lighter colored hoodie, blue jeans and brown or tan shoes. Both handguns brandished.

No one has been arrested in connection with the shooting. A reward of up to $10,000 continues to be offered by Union County Crime Stoppers for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case.

Investigators are asking members of the public to provide information as part of their ongoing efforts to solve the crime, said Union County District Attorney William A. Daniel, Rahway Police Superintendent Jonathan Parham and Capt. David DeSordi, Rahway’s law enforcement officer, in a statement. .

“Mr. Gaines was a driven young man, who pursued his dream of owning and operating a business he was deeply passionate about,” Daniel said. as firmly committed today as six years ago to finding these cold-blooded killers and bringing justice to him and his loved ones.”

Wilson, who moved to North Carolina, said the Union County prosecutor’s office told him he couldn’t indict and prosecute anyone without hard evidence.

“They still don’t know anything, so there are no new updates,” she said, adding that with more advances in technology, evidence gathered at the scene could one day help identify a suspect.

“It’s sad,” Wilson said, adding that she wasn’t ready to find out who killed her son just yet, but “I’m about to be ready.”

Wilson added that she couldn’t bear to know who killed her son unless they were prosecuted.

“I think it’s meant to be, everything happens for a reason,” she said.

Anyone with information about the Gaines shooting is asked to contact U.S. Office Detective Ryan Kirsh at 908-347-1420.

Advice to Union County Crime Stoppers can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at

Email: [email protected]

Suzanne Russell is a breaking news reporter for covering crime, the courts and other mayhem. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

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