MONTCLAIR, New Jersey — A man shot and killed a woman in front of their 11-year-old daughter inside a YMCA recreation center while a swimming class for preschoolers was going on nearby, officials said.
Authorities said Monica Paul, 31, argued with the suspect, Kenneth A. Duckett, 37, before he allegedly opened fire about 6:30 p.m.
Duckett, the father of her two children, then ran from the building and drove off in a white Jeep with another man, who has not been identified, authorities said. The vehicle was later found; both men remained at large late Thursday.
Witnesses said YMCA staffers and parents helped get the children out of the building. None of the children was hurt, authorities said.
Essex County Prosecutor Paula T. Dow said Paul was shot multiple times at close range as she sat with her daughter in a waiting area outside the pool where her 4-year-old son was swimming. Witnesses told investigators they heard at least three or four shots.
Authorities said the slain woman was granted a restraining order against Duckett late last year.
I used to live up in New Jersey, and one of the things that I hated was how difficult it was to acquire a firearm for defensive purposes, and then, even if you did, you couldn't carry it with you. According to the actual law, NJ is a "may issue" state, but from everything I've ever heard, you can't justify a need, no matter what you say.
A friend I knew was the manager of the township department of public works. As part of his job, the crew had to install a new pipe at his direction. Part of the process was digging up the shoulder of a road, and happened to cut across the front of a gentleman's lawn. The homeowner came out and threatened to kill my friend. My friend went to the local police department (the town he worked in) and asked if they could issue him a permit to carry a firearm, even just while he was working, and he'd lock it up in the station every night. No go, he wasn't special enough.
The last line of that news paper article states that the woman had a restraining order against the shooter. In his post, Meditations on Paper Armour, Lawdog points how about how effective a piece of paper is at defending you, if you don't have anything to back it up. Go give him a read (which, if you're reading this, you should definitely already be doing...)