NEWARK, NJ (PIX11) — Two police officers in Newark were shot “at close range” in Newark early on Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Ras Baraka said.
A concerned citizen had called police about a Friday shooting, saying they’d identified a suspect in that shooting inside a Van Elsor Place building, Baraka said. The officers headed over to the building a short time later.
“They did not find him in the building,” Baraka said. “Upon leaving the building they encountered the gentleman. They gave him instructions. There was a brief altercation. The gentleman pulled a gun out, shot two police officers at close range.”
The officers returned fire and the suspect retreated into the building. No arrests have been made, but Baraka said he was hopeful a suspect would be in custody by the end of the day.
“We don’t know if he’s in one of the apartments now. We suspect that,” Baraka said. “We’re going from apartment to apartment now. The SWAT is in there right now going from apartment to apartment.”
Police later determined 30-year-old suspect Kendall Howard, an East Orange resident, had exited the building, Newark Public Safety Director Fritz Fragé said. Howard has a criminal record. There’s an active warrant out for his arrest. Officials asked for the public’s help in finding Howard.
One of the wounded officers was shot in the leg, Baraka said. He experienced a small fracture to the leg. Another suffered a graze wound to the neck and an injury to the shoulder. He was taken into surgery. They were in stable condition on Tuesday night.
As the wounded cops were being treated at the hospital, other officers cleared residents from the building. Video from AIR11 near Chancellor Avenue and Van Elsor Place shows around a dozen police officers on a rooftop. Some were holding protective shields and others were in position with guns. Other officers could be seen positioned on the ground behind squad cars.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the injured officers and all the officers handling the Newark attack,” New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan Colligan said. “This level of violence must be stopped and condemned by everyone.”
Gov. Phil Murphy said he’s “closely monitoring” the situation. He’d been in touch with local authorities.
“We will continue to support local law enforcement and ensure that all residents are safe,” Murphy said.