Woman fatally shot at YMCA center

June 27, 2008 4:18:05 AM PDT
A man shot and killed a woman in front of their 11-year-old daughter inside a YMCA building Thursday evening while a swimming class for preschoolers was going on nearby, officials said.Authorities said Monica Paul, 31, of Montclair, argued with the suspect, Kenneth A. Duckett, 37, of Orange, before he allegedly opened fire about 6:30 p.m. inside the Helen and Bill Geyer YMCA Family Center.

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 in Orange; 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 were 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.

"Right now we are fairly confident in saying it appears to be a targeted incident that was directed at this poor individual," Dow said. "It doesn't appear to be random ? he seemed to be going after her."

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