By Julia Terruso & Tomás Dinges | The Star-Ledger
ELIZABETH — City police were searching today for a man who gunned down a well-known hot dog vendor in his food truck.
Richard “Keith” Cashwell, 41, was slain late Thursday where he operated his business near the city’s waterfront around First and Court streets, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office said.
Authorities said a man approached Cashwell, who was inside his food truck about 11 p.m., and opened fire. Cashwell managed to get outside the truck but was shot several times and died.
Two city police officers nearby chased the killer. One fired several rounds, but the gunman escaped and remains at large, the prosecutor’s office said.
Late Thursday night, a State Police helicopter hovered low over the waterfront and scanned an area with a spotlight as bystanders passed the news to each other just beyond the white box truck.
“Keith from the lunch truck!” one man said in disbelief when he heard the news. “Oh, no.”
Neighbors called Cashwell a popular vendor who grew up in the area and was the father of an adult son. They said he liked to walk his small white lap dog in a nearby park in the morning.
Prosecutors said they have not established a motive in the shooting. The prosecutor’s homicide task force is investigating the shooting and the county’s Crime Stoppers organization is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the person responsible for Cashwell’s death.