Investigators searched a Newark apartment building where they believed the suspect in the shooting of two Newark police officers was hiding, but found the man was nowhere to be found.
Police have identified the man wanted as 30-year-old Kendall Howard of East Orange.
Police said he opened fire on officers in Newark on Van Velsor Place and Chancellor Avenue around 2 p.m. They were trying to arrest the suspect for another shooting, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported.
The injured officers are recovering at the University Hospital.
Police were called to an apartment building after a resident identified a man involved in a shooting last week. Officers searched the building, did not find the suspect and began to leave. Then they found him in the parking lot and got into a gunfight.
For hours, police from far and wide, including the FBI and ATF, kept residents locked in their homes.
“It was terrible. At first I thought it was fireworks, but then, because there were so many, I realized what it was,” witness Rosalind Reeves said.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said a resident called police after identifying a shooting suspect seen on a wanted flyer. Minutes later, officers were combing through the apartment building. As they left, they found the suspect in the parking lot.
“The gentleman drew a pistol and shot two police officers at close range. The shot was returned, the fire was returned. The gentleman withdrew into the building,” Baraka said.
That was the reason for the massive response. Officers on the ground, even on rooftops, kept their eyes peeled for the shooter.
The officers were rushed to hospital.
“One was shot through the face in the shoulder. He was in hospital, had surgery. His condition is stable. They are holding him overnight. The other officer was shot in the leg. He is also in hospital in stable condition,” Newark Public Safety Director Fritz Fragé said.
The suspect then ran back inside, but after nearly eight hours of searching, the police were left empty-handed.
“The perpetrator is not in the building. There is currently an active arrest warrant for the perpetrator who is now outside,” Fragé said.
“This remains an active investigation. We are asking for the cooperation and participation of the public in helping to identify and locate Mr. Howard. But thanks to our federal partners and our state, county and local partnerships, I am confident that all necessary resources have been deployed,” Attorney General Matthew Platkin said.
Meanwhile, many who have seen their neighborhood turn into a crime scene are upset.
“How do they expect people and their children to be safe here after that? And he’s still free?’ a man asked. “If they all couldn’t do it, someone else could.”
“I’ve been here since 3:15 p.m. I’m angry and it’s sad that things like this are happening in this neighborhood,” said Victoria Emeghara-Owoo, a resident of the building.