Homicide
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating an alleged homicide that happened on North Mountain Avenue this morning. ERIN ROLL/ STAFF

By ERIN ROLL and JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
roll@montclairlocal.news
winters@montclairlocal.news

Police are searching for a Montclair man wanted for the shooting death of his girlfriend that occurred at their Montclair home late Monday night.

Angela Bledsoe, 44, was found dead at the family’s home at 304 North Mountain Ave. after police were dispatched to the home on a wellness check, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Homicide
James R. Ray III

Bledsoe’s partner, James R. Ray III, 55, who was not at the house when police arrived has been charged with murder and weapons offenses. Ray was still at large as of Tuesday afternoon.

Ray was still at large as of Tuesday afternoon, and authorities said he is believed to be armed and dangerous. Police said he is driving a black, four-door BMW 328i with New Jersey license plate ZNX68M.

“At approximately 11:48 p.m. Montclair Police received a call to make a wellness check at the home. When they arrived, they discovered the victim suffering from apparent gunshot wounds,” Acting County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens II stated in a press release.

She was pronounced dead at 1:17 a.m. Tuesday.

Authorities said that Bledsoe and Ray lived together at the home, and had a child in common. Ray is listed as the homeowner since 2015. The child is in the care of family members, stated Stephens.

Neighbor Elizabeth Gabrielson said her heart went out to couple’s daughter. She said they  mostly stayed to themselves.

Neighbors were shocked by the news of the murder on their quiet block. “It’s terrible. Events like this are unusual. It’s very quiet,” Joshua Slobodien said.

“I could hardly believe it when they said it happened on North Mountain,” said Dorothy Hunt as she walked nearby Anderson park.

Some residents were nervous about Ray still being at large. Melissa Miller a coach with Girls on the Run, a group that meets at Anderson Park, called the police before heading to the park. She said the police assured her it was safe for her group to hold its meetup.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7437.

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