Man charged with murder for Toms River, NJ hookah lounge shooting

TOMS RIVER — An Asbury Park man is charged with murder for a shooting at a hookah lounge last month that left one person dead and two others injured, but officials say he is not yet in custody.

Eric Manzanares, 22, is accused of opening fire at Top Tier Hookah Lounge on Aug. 27. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday evening that he is considered a fugitive from justice.

“Great teamwork has been exhibited by all of the respective law enforcement agencies and officers involved in this investigation. Our focus now is to find Eric Manzanares and bring him into custody,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a statement.

According to prosecutors, Toms River police responded to shots fired at the hookah lounge on Hooper Avenue around 1:20 a.m. on the morning of the shooting. Officers found three victims.

A hole in the glass at Top Tier Hookah in Toms River after a shooting on Aug. 27, 2022. (Tom’s River Mayor’s Office)

A hole in the glass at Top Tier Hookah in Toms River after a shooting on Aug. 27, 2022. (Tom’s River Mayor’s Office)

Nymere Tinsley, 25, of Brick Township, took a bullet to his lower abdomen and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to prosecutors. Anthony Miller, 29, of Neptune Township, and Jamal Bland, 24, of Asbury Park, were both shot as well but survived.

Just days after the shooting, Mayor Maurice Hill announced that the hookah lounge would be shut down. The business, which was left with a gaping hole in its front window, had multiple zoning, safety and code violations, Hill said.

The lounge owners were issued a fine of $4,500 and a summons to appear in municipal court on Sept. 12. New Jersey 101.5 has reached out to the mayor’s office for the outcome of the court appearance.

Billhimer asked anyone with information about Manzanares’ location to contact OCPO Detective Denis Mitchell at 732-929-2027 ext. 2476 or Toms River Detective Jennifer Grob at 732-349-0150.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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