NEWARK — Two city police officers were in stable condition after being shot at close range by a man who remained at large Tuesday night.

The suspect was identified Tuesday night as 30-year-old Kendall Howard, of East Orange. Police said they were unable to find him in the building and he remained at large.

Earlier reports had said the officers were shot by a gunman firing from a rooftop of a residential building at the corner of Van Velsor Place and Chancellor Avenue in the residential Weequahic section.

On Tuesday evening, Mayor Ras Baraka said that was not correct, adding that there was an exchange of fire with police.

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The shooter then appeared to retreat into an apartment building along Van Velsor Place and SWAT team members were going “apartment to apartment” searching for him, Baraka continued.

25 Van Velsor Place in Newark (Google Maps) Newark Police officers shot
25 Van Velsor Place in Newark (Google Maps)

One officer was shot in the leg, the other was shot in the neck and shoulder area requiring surgery — both remained in the hospital and were in stable condition by the “grace of God,” the mayor said.

Baraka said he was unsure what type of firearm had been used in the attack on both officers.

Police had responded to report of gunshots

The confrontation appears to have unfolded last week after city law enforcement had received a call around 1 p.m. from a “concerned citizen” regarding a person of interest being sought for a gunshot fired into the air on Oct. 28, according to Baraka. The caller had directed them to 25 Van Velsor, he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Newark police had shared two photos from surveillance footage of a man being sought for a shot fired into the air along a South Ward street.

Police had a clear ID on who they were searching for Tuesday night, Baraka said, and he “obviously has a criminal record.”

“We’ll have another update as soon as we get him," he said.

Law enforcement reacts to shooting

Essex County Commissioner President Wayne Richardson released a statement on the shooting of two police officers, saying “ this senseless act of violence cannot be tolerated nor accepted in any way.”

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