Manhunt underway after Applebee’s ‘execution-style killing’

Posted: Updated:
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP -

A manhunt continued Wednesday for the person behind what investigators described as an “execution-style killing” at an Applebee’s restaurant in Lawrence Township.

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said Devin Smith, 23, was seated just before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at the bar at the restaurant located on Route 1. The office said a black man in his mid-20s came into the Applebee’s, shot Smith in the head and then fled in a dark-colored SUV.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured.

Dine Equality, the parent company of Applebee’s, released the following statement:

“We offer our condolences to the family of those impacted. The safety and security of our guests and team members is paramount. The local franchisee is fully cooperating with authorities on the investigation, and any further inquiries should be directed to the local police department.”

Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said his office will be looking at surveillance video from inside the restaurant and gathering as much information as possible from customers who witnessed the shooting.

"We have several promising leads and are hoping to make an arrest soon,” Onofri told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

It was the first homicide in the community in more than 16 years.

Anyone who might have any information about the shooting is urged to call the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-989-6406.

The Associated Press news wire service contributed to this report.

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