- The gunmen took shelter in kosher store, where they held armed police and federal officials for hours, shooting hundreds rounds of ammunition.
- “Based on what we know, there are no ongoing threats to the public safety that have any connections to today’s events,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy told reporters
- The motive for the attack has not yet been established but it is not believed to be a terror attack.
Six people, including a police officer, three civilians and two gunmen, have died in a series of gun battles Tuesday in Jersey City, New Jersey. Two police officers who were also wounded in the shoot-out have been released from hospital, authorities have confirmed. The gun battle erupted near a local cemetery.
The gunmen then drove in a rental van to another part of the city. The pair took shelter in kosher store, where they held armed police and federal officials for hours, shooting hundreds rounds of ammunition. Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said that when police responded to the area of kosher store, they were immediately engaged in high-power rifle fire. “Our officers were under fire for hours,” Kelly said.
Authorities have said that inside the grocery store, police found two bodies which they believed were of the gunmen, and three others believed to be of people who happened to be there when the assailants got in. Police have said that they are confident that the three were killed by gunmen and not police officers. Kelly further added that investigators believe that the suspects’ van had a device that was removed and taken for examination by police disposal officials. Several schools and businesses were put on temporal lock down by the attack.
“Based on what we know, there are no ongoing threats to the public safety that have any connections to today’s events,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy told reporters. He added that it had been an incredibly tough day for Jersey City and the whole state of New Jersey.
The slain police officer, Joseph Seals, who worked for a unit called Cease Fire, was hailed by his superiors for having led the department in the number of illegal guns removed from the streets in the recent years. It is believed that he might have been in such a mission of trying to stop an incident involving the illegal weapons when his life was cut short.
It is believed that Seal was killed as he approached the two gunmen. The motive for the attack has not yet been established, but it is not believed to be a terror attack. However, local media reported that the confrontation between the assailants and police was linked to a murder investigation but the authorities have not confirmed this.
“It’s a really tough day for the city of Jersey City,” Mayor Stephen Fulop said. “Seals was one of the best officers for getting the most guns off the streets. He was a good cop.” The kosher grocery is a central fixture in a growing community of Orthodox Jews who have been moving to Jersey City in the recent years. It isn’t clear why the gunmen opted for the place.