NEWARK -- Eboni Kornegay has lived at the Grace West Manor Apartments in Newark since she was 7, and as a little girl she would look out her window and wish she could go play with the other kids.
"I used to wonder why my dad kept me in the house," said Kornegay, now 21 and a parent herself. "And now I know why."
The peace and quiet that Kornegay and several neighbors said had characterized the brown brick garden apartment complex at Irvine Turner Boulevard and Muhammad Ali Avenue was shattered on Monday afternoon.
A police officer shot and wounded a man who authorities said refused to drop the gun he had been carrying.
Authorities said the unidentified man was hospitalized with a single gunshot wound to his arm, and the officer was treated for trauma.
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office is investigating because the shooting involved police.
Kornegay, who has a 4-year-old daughter with braided hair accented with white beads, said she was standing outside her front door sometime after 1 p.m. on Monday, when she saw a young man running in a central courtyard to her left.
The courtyard surrounds an after-school education and recreation center for the children of Grace West, a privately-run housing complex where the rents range from $1,164 for a studio to $2,124 for a 4-bedroom apartment, subsidized by federal Section 8 vouchers.
The next moment, Kornegay said a police officer came running around her two-story building and across the parking lot in front, in pursuit of the young man.
"I was standing out here, and I saw the police officer running," she said.
Other residents, who declined to give their names, said they saw the officer carrying a gun, and heard him fire several shots. However, Kornegay said she did not hear the shots or see a gun.
"I was kind of bothered, because I have nieces and nephews, and my 4-year-old daughter, she likes to come out and play with them," Kornegay said. "And I don't want to have to keep her inside. You want her to be able to get out and get some fresh air."
While showing some signs of neglect, Grace West is generally a quiet, even peaceful place to live, according to several of the residents, most of whom wished to remain anonymous.
An administrative office at the base of a high-rise senior citizen apartment tower was locked Monday afternoon, and a message left at the number posted on the door was not immediately returned.
Bicycles, barbecue grills and children's toys lay on many of the patios. The complex has commanding views of Newark Liberty International Airport and Port Newark to the south, and downtown Newark and lower Manhattan to the east.
Trading a cigarette, Kornegay and her longtime friend and neighbor Marie Smith said that on warm nights the twinkling horizon can be captivating.
But Smith, 20, is also a parent, and for her and others, the relative tranquility of Grace West had been obliterated by gunshots and sirens Monday afternoon.
"I felt terrified," said Smith. "I have a 7-month-old son."
Steve Strunsky may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveStrunsky. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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