A suspect accused of shooting two police officers in Newark, New Jersey, Tuesday was still at large following an hours-long search of a building where he was last seen, officials said.
An arrest warrant was issued for Kendall Howard, 30, charging him with two counts of attempted murder in connection to Tuesday’s shooting that left two officers injured, prosecutors said. Howard is also charged in the warrant with unauthorized possession of a weapon and unauthorized possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, Essex County Prosecutor Ted Stephens announced.
Earlier Tuesday, police and a SWAT team were going from apartment to apartment searching for Howard, who they said retreated inside the building after opening fire, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said during a news conference. Most of the residents were evacuated, the mayor said.
Howard wasn’t located during the search and officials believe he left the building at some point after the shooting, Newark Director of Public Safety Fritz G. Fragé said later Tuesday.
The building has many entry and exit points and investigators are reviewing surveillance footage in hopes of getting more information, Fragé added.
Howard is also wanted in relation to an October 28 shooting in Newark, Baraka said. Officers first encountered him Tuesday after someone identified him from a flier and called police around 1 pm to say he was in a nearby building.
Police responded 13 minutes later and did not find him in the building, but encountered him while leaving the back, near the parking lot, the mayor said.
“They gave him instructions, there was a brief altercation, the gentleman pulled a gun out, shot two police officers at close range. Gunshot was returned, fire was returned. The gentleman retreated into the building,” Baraka said.
One of the officers was shot in the leg and has a small fracture, Baraka said. The other officer was shot in his shoulder and the bullet grabbed his neck. Both are in stable condition, he said.
Baraka thanked the community Tuesday night, saying they played a “tremendous role,” especially the person who initially called authorities with a tip about the suspects whereabouts.
FBI Newark confirmed it is assisting in the investigation of the shooting.
The shooting of the officers comes amid an uptick in violence against law enforcement in the US.
There were 252 officers shot, including 50 fatally, from the beginning of this year through September 30, according to the Fraternal Order of Police, an organization representing US law enforcement officers.
That’s a 5% increase over the same period in 2021 and a 6% increase over the same period in 2020, according to the organization’s data.