A man and a woman were fatally shot just steps from her three children -- ages 1, 3 and 4 -- in a New Jersey home, authorities said Sunday.
The three kids were inside the third-floor apartment on Clinton Place in Newark at around 9:30 p.m. Saturday when shots rang out, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office. The children weren't hurt.
"I heard the shots. And by the time I got back downstairs, the cops was out here telling us we had to go back upstairs," a neighbor named Eric said.
Ashley Jones, 23, and Jarrell Marshall, 27, both died of multiple gunshot wounds. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
"She was a good mom. She was a good friend. She was a good person. She didn't deserve what happened to her," another neighbor said.
Jones' three children were initially taken to University Hospital and were later placed in the care of family members and the state Department of Child Protection and Permanency. A neighbor said he saw the baby being taken away from the crime scene by police.
A sheet of plywood was all that stood between neighbors and the crime scene Sunday afternoon. Balloons outside the apartment building stood as a memorial to the lives lost inside.
Neighbors said Jones was a victim of domestic violence. One neighbor, who didn't want to give her name, described one of her last interactions with Jones.
"She was just shaking. She was just saying she had a restraining order. She was looking for the super. I heard her voice in the hallway, so we both came to the door. And she wanted to use my phone to call the police."
Police said they're investigating whether or not there's a connection between the domestic violence calls and Saturday's slayings.
At about the same time as the Clinton Place incident, police engaged in a shootout with a man about three miles away in another part of Newark.
A man began firing at officers during a traffic stop on South Orange Avenue; they returned fire, struck the man, and he was taken to the hospital in stable condition, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.