JERSEY CITY, N.J. (PIX11) — A man is in custody following an all-day search after he shot and killed his estranged wife in front of her high school-aged daughter, according to investigators.
According to Jersey City Public Schools, the daughter dialed 911 in an effort to save the life of her mother, a well-known and adored elementary school teacher. She had reportedly been getting ready to go to school when her life was tragically taken.
Temera King was the victim of domestic violence, according to members of her family, as well as an eyewitness.
A woman who gave only her first name, Joanna, lives on the same floor as King. Joanna said that just after 7:00 a.m., she saw her neighbor, Lucus Cooper, pass by her in the third-floor hallway and enter King’s apartment as Joanna entered her home.
“When I closed my door, I heard the shots,” Joanna said. “‘Bang, bang, bang, bang,’ and that was it.'”
She said that at first, she’d thought it was something other than gunshots because King’s 15-year-old daughter was in the home. Quickly, though, Joanna said that she’d realized the worst had happened, very close to home.
“That’s two doors down from where I live,” she said. “I heard the shots; yes, I did.”
After the shots rang out, the daughter called 911 and identified the gunman — her stepfather, Cooper, 39, according to prosecutors.
For the rest of the day on Tuesday, prosecutor’s office investigators, uniformed officers and detectives from the Jersey City Police Department came and went from the home. It’s in the Toy Factory Apartment Building at Bergen and Virginia Avenues. They brought evidence out with them as part of the investigation.
Meanwhile, according to King’s relatives, her 15-year-old daughter stayed all day with homicide detectives for safety while the search for Cooper was underway.
Dozens of relatives gathered at a family member’s home about a mile away from the crime scene to mourn their loss.
There, they said that Temara Sarafina King, 35 — their sister, cousin, daughter, and loved one — was a special education teacher at School No. 5 and that she’d had a master’s degree in her field.
Various relatives said that they were too heartbroken to make any public comment.
The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office made a public comment about Cooper.
It said that Cooper had been taken into custody in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
He’s now charged with murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an illegal purpose, and endangering the welfare of a child.
He’s being held in Pennsylvania pending extradition proceedings. When the murder case went to trial, relatives said Temera King’s 15-year-old daughter would be the primary witness. They are now planning King’s funeral.