The man accused of shooting dead two Newark police officers last week when they tried to question him at an apartment building about a previous shooting will remain jailed while his case pending, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Kendall Howard, 30, remained at large 22 hours after wounding the two officers, prompting evacuations and a massive police presence in the neighborhood.
Howard kept his head down and did not speak during a brief virtual appearance from the Essex County Jail before Judge Michael L. Ravin Wednesday morning in Superior Court.
Howard’s attorney, Douglas G. Mitchell, has pleaded not guilty to the latest charges against his client – unlawful possession of firearms in the Oct. 28 shooting, which prompted the two officers to question him on Nov. 1. Howard had previously pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted murder following his November 2 arrest.
Mitchell did not seek Howard’s release and did not challenge any of the state’s evidence of probable cause contained in the Essex County Attorney’s Office affidavit. Judge Ravin accepted the plea of not guilty and scheduled the next hearing for January 9.
Newark Police Officers Johnny Aquino and Jabril Paul went to Howard’s Van Velsor Place home on November 1 after an 911 caller identified him as the suspect wanted in the October 28 shooting.
Aquino and Paul approached Howard, who, according to the affidavit, was reading a book in the back parking lot of the building. The cops told him not to move, but Howard walked away and a fight ensued when the two officers “physically intervened,” according to the affidavit.
During the fight, Howard reached into his pocket, pulled out a pistol and shot Aquino in the neck and Paul in the left leg, police said. He then fled when replacement units arrived and took the wounded officers to University Hospital while police officers swarmed the area looking for Howard, according to the affidavit.
While Howard was at large, hundreds of police officers swarmed through the Weequahic section of Newark while helicopters and drones whirred overhead.
Police searched the building Tuesday night but didn’t find Howard until the next day.
At a news conference held hours after the arrest, the Essex County prosecutor declined to say where Howard had spent the night.
Aquino and Paul were both said goodbye as heroes as they were discharged from University Hospital on separate days last week.
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