By Beth DeFalco
TRENTON, N.J. — The last time Monique Hosendove spoke to her brother, Hassan Shakur, she begged him to turn himself into South Carolina police.
He told her that would never happen and instructed her on how he wanted to be buried - in Muslim tradition - if police should find him.
On Thursday, he was discovered by Jersey City, N.J., police, who shot and killed Shakur and his wife in a pre-dawn shootout that left five officers wounded - two critically.
Now, Monique Hosendove is preparing to travel from Hampton, S.C., to New Jersey to bury her younger brother and try to find answers about the way he died.
"Did they go in there with the intention of killing him? Did it have to go that far? Did a negotiator try to go in there?" she asked. "I just want the truth."
Thursday's shootout erupted during a stakeout. Police said Shakur had been hiding a pump-action shotgun under a robe when police approached him in the street at about 5:15 a.m., and he began firing.
Shakur, 32, and Amanda Anderson, 22, whom Hosendove said was married to her brother, ran into the apartment where they were staying. More than an hour later, SWAT officers fought their way in and were met by shotgun blasts before they could fire a shot.
Buckshot and solid slugs from Shakur's 12-gauge weapon tore into officers Marc DiNardo and Michael Camacho as the door swung open.
"Both times - outside, and the shooting in the building - both times Shakur fired first," Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.
Police fired back, and the couple was pronounced dead at the scene.
One law enforcement expert questioned whether storming the apartment was needed.
"A typical SWAT reaction is non-assaultive," said William T. Gaut, a nationally recognized expert on police practices and procedures. "It's meant to get the suspects to the point where they are physically and mentally exhausted, which can give an entry team an advantage. It doesn't look like they did that."
DeFazio said a preliminary investigation of the shooting shows police were justified in their level of force.
Shakur's wrap sheet dates to 1995 and includes arrests for dealing crack cocaine, assault and resisting arrest.
According to Hosendove, Shakur was born in Jersey City and moved to South Carolina 20 years ago to live with his grandmother. She said they were taken away from their mother by child protective services.
"My mother was on drugs," she said. "He turned to what he knew, which was the streets."
In 2002, he was arrested by Jersey City police for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The arresting officer, DiNardo, was also on the scene Thursday. He was shot in the face and remains the most critically injured. Camacho, 25, who was shot in the neck and was in critical condition Friday.
Shakur served five years for the possession charge, and was released in August 2007.
In March, Columbia police named Shakur as a suspect in connection with armed home invasion. A reward of up to $1,000 was offered for information.
"It was all over the news, they had his picture flashing everywhere. I started calling his cell phone, but it was disconnected," Hosendove said.
When he finally called, she told him to give himself up.
"He was already getting ready to run because they were looking for him. He said he didn't want to go back to jail," she said, so he returned to New Jersey.
Shakur and Anderson had been living in Jersey City for several months before the shooting.
"They were staying there with a junkie-dealer, who said he met them at a mosque," said Jersey City Deputy Chief Peter Nalbach.
By June, they were wanted in connection with an armed robbery in Jersey City in which a man ambushed as he arrived for work. One of the attackers shot the worker in the stomach as he sat in his van.
The shooting was captured on surveillance video and released by police. The video prompted calls from people who recognized the pair, including at least one relative of Anderson.
Jersey City Police Director Sam Jefferson said the pair might have been expecting a confrontation.
"If he got caught by police," Hosendove said, "he was not going to surrender."
Hosendove said despite the drugs and guns, her brother, whose given name was Hassan Hosendove, was a devote Muslim and loving father to two children in South Carolina from a previous relationship. As part of his religion, he legally changed his name to Shakur.
Neighbors described Shakur as religious. Greg Cefaratti, 55, who lived in the next apartment, said he frequently heard the couple through the apartment building's thin walls.
"All I used to hear was the Quran," Cefaratti told The Star-Ledger of Newark. "They had it on the radio, night and day, 24/7."
Anderson doesn't appear to have any criminal record.
Autopsies on Shakur and Anderson were being performed on Friday.
Hosendove said that while his death was tragic, she was relieved he "doesn't have to fight with himself any longer."
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"Now, there's some peace within me, too" she added. "I don't have to wait for the phone call any more. It's already come."