He wrote a novel about life on the streets. Then, he was gunned down

Al-Tariq Brown penned a story with a conflict that has become all too familiar in the Newark South Side neighborhood where he was raised.

Can a man left to fend for himself overcome adversity and resist the lucrative pull of the streets?

Or, as a teaser for his self-published fictional novel states, "Will he fall victim to the very same system that nearly destroyed his family and his life?"

Brown, 31, became a victim to the world he fictionalized after he was gunned down inside a Maplewood restaurant Saturday night. 

Little has been made public of what happened that night.

The Essex County Prosecutor's Office, leading the homicide investigation, said Brown was fatally shot inside a restaurant on Springfield Avenue around 8:30 p.m.

A woman who answered the phone at Bradfords Barr, located near the border of Irvington, said detectives have taken the surveillance video footage from that evening but declined to say anything else.

"You guys have to talk to them about it," she said, irate from receiving a call from the media. "We are victims as well."

Gun violence isn't common on the streets of Maplewood, said the township's acting police chief, Jimmy DeVaul.

"We're doing things on our end to be proactive," he said in a brief phone interview, adding that he upped foot patrols in the area.

Brown pleaded guilty in 2007 to resisting arrest and drug distribution, both third-degree crimes, court records show. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of heroin. 

Family members told NJ Advance Media that Brown, born and raised on Madison Avenue in Newark, was working hard to provide a better life for him and his family, and recently acquired notoriety as a successful party promoter and self-published author. 

"My brother was a good man," said his sister, who did not want to be named. "He helped his friends, his family, he was loved by so many people. He had a good heart. Every time you see him, he smiled."

Brown attended St. Benedict's Prep High School in Newark before transferring to Malcolm X Shabazz High School, where he graduated.

He took classes at Essex County College but did not graduate, his family said. They said Brown graduated from real estate school and was working on a second book.

It was a follow up to 2015's "Secret Indictment," a 240-page fictional account of Fuquan "Currency" Green's life ruling the "cold-hearted streets of Newark."

It's listed on Amazon and several other book sites but is currently out of stock.

His aunt, who also did not want to be identified, said he was shot 10 times during a robbery attempt in the early 2000s but survived.

The family said it's hoping to get justice for Brown. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-847-7432. Callers can be anonymous, authorities said. 

"They took our souls when they killed my brother," his sister said. "I can't even cry anymore. I feel empty inside."

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