Gunman Shoots 2 Cops in Newark, Then Somehow Evades Police Capture; Manhunt Continues

Even though law enforcement had surrounded the building where the alleged gunman was believed to be, an hours-long search found that he was not there, and police are still looking for him. Here's what we know so far.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Two police officers were shot in Newark, New Jersey, Tuesday by a suspect armed with a gun who fled to a nearby building, according to police and law enforcement officials.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said at a Tuesday evening press conference that they received a call around 1 p.m. in regards to a previous shooting on Oct. 28. The caller said they had recognized the suspect in that shooting as a person inside a building at the intersection of Van Velsor Place and Chancellor Avenue.

Minutes later, officers went to the building but could not find the suspect they were looking for, according to police. As they were leaving, cops came across the suspect who approached them. The officers made commands to the man, who did not comply.

Shots were fired shortly after, though it was not immediately clear how many were fired, but at least two shots were fired from the suspect's weapon, a high-ranking law enforcement source said.

One of the officers was shot in the face, with the bullet traveling down to his shoulder, Newark Public safety Director Fritz Frage said at a later press conference, and will be kept at the hospital overnight. The other officer was shot in the leg, Frage said. Witnesses told NBC New York that other cops on scene helped one of the injured officers into a patrol car and rushed him to the hospital.

Both officers were recovering at the hospital and are expected to survive.

A shooting in Newark -- New Jersey's largest city -- by an individual with a long gun has left at least one police officer injured, according to a law enforcement source.

Meanwhile, police surrounded and secured the building, spending hours searching for the suspect identified as Kendall Howard. Frage said every floor of the large building had to be evacuated, and law enforcement went floor-by-floor to get residents out as they searched for the 30-year-old Howard, who police said is a East Orange.

After the long search, police ultimately found that the shooter was not in the building, and were still searching for him as of 9 p.m. Tuesday. Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens said that Howard faces two attempted murder charges for shooting the officers, as well as weapons charges.

Police did not explain how Howard may have escaped the building, even after video showed a massive law enforcement presence all around it. SWAT vehicles and an army of law enforcement officers had swarmed the scene, with drones and helicopters deployed to assist from the air. But the search involving local, state and federal law enforcement somehow came up empty.

Frage said there were "many entrances and exit points" of the building, including open-air areas and fire escapes. He also said police were looking at video surveillance tapes from the building.

Federal investigators with the FBI and ATF confirmed they sent resources to the scene as well. Essex County Prosecutor Stephens said his office would be taking over lead of the ongoing investigation.

Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted his support for the officers, as well as those searching for the suspect.

"We are praying for the speedy recovery of two police officers who were shot and injured in the line of duty today in Newark," Murphy said in a tweet. "I am grateful to those who are working around the clock to ensure that the perpetrator of this heinous crime is apprehended and brought to justice."

NBC New York's Chris Jose and Jonathan Dienst have team coverage.

Contact Us