Man shot and killed at Willingboro social club may not have been target, police say

The search is on for the person who killed a well-liked member of a private club in Burlington County. The victim shot just minutes after a party for a youth football team let out and the victim may not have been the target.

"We’re sad that it happened and we really don’t know how it happened," owner of the social club, James Thomas, said.

Bullets blew big holes into the porch pillar, front door and siding of the recently opened Diamond Dogz Social Club on John F. Kennedy Way in Willingboro, directly across the street from Willingboro High School.

The Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office says, "A dark-colored vehicle crept along while a gunman fired multiple rounds toward the crowd from a rear passenger seat on the driver’s side."

45-year-old Major Hamilton was shot in the chest and died at the hospital an hour later.

"We feel confident that there’s people in the public that may have information that may help us with this investigation," Chief Patrick Thornton with the prosecutor’s office, stated. "We ask that if anyone has any information at all to contact us and they can provide any information anonymously to us."

Club owner James Thomas said the 10-year-old Willingboro Panthers youth football team held a party for kids in the club Tuesday night that ended at 8:30. The shooting occurred just 45 minutes after that as people were still walking out the front door.

"We are just trying to help the community. We do things for the kids," Thomas remarked. "We reaching out to everybody. We just trying to do good stuff. I don’t even understand how that happened, I don’t understand the cause behind it. We’re gonna try to do what we do to help the family pay for the funeral. We’re reaching out to them. And, moving forward, we’re going to try to have armed security around to make sure that don’t happen again. Maybe off-duty police officers."

James says the victim was a friendly, family man. "He just came up to stop by. He’s a working guy. He’s married. Family man. He hardly ever comes up. He comes up and might get some food or something and go home. He never even really stays here longer than 15 or 20 minutes."

Authorities ask anyone along John F. Kennedy Way who has video cameras along this stretch of road to let them know if they have any video of the dark-colored vehicle heading towards the area or away from the area around 9:15 Tuesday night.