An hour-long shootout on Tuesday afternoon near a cemetery and a kosher grocery store in Jersey city, New Jersey left six people, including a police officer and two alleged shooters, dead. Speaking about the incident, Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly told at a news conference hours later that the two alleged shooters, who were killed, acted alone.
The two gunmen and three civilian victims were declared dead inside the JC Kosher Supermarket. According to Kelly, the slain police detective was mortally injured, close to a cemetery about a mile away from the spot where the shootout started. The cop was actually attempting to block one of the suspects. However, Kelly said to reporters that it is yet to be ascertained whether the unfortunate incident was a hate crime or terror-related.
Kelly believed that the civilians, as well as the detective, were all killed by the shooters, who had arrived in a stolen U-Haul truck and deterred police action for hours before the shooting finally ceased.
“Their movement was rapid and continuous for four hours within that area,” the Police Chief said at a news conference. Circling at least three locations, the crime scene was described by him as “very extensive.” The three locations witnessed hundreds of rounds of firing.
The U-Haul truck is believed to be containing an “incendiary device”, which Kelly said was removed for examination by police bomb squad personnel. As per a tweet by Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, two more cops and a civilian were wounded as well but were reportedly in stable condition. The two injured cops were later discharged from the hospital.
Mayor Steven Fulop told reporters that the slain police officer was identified as Joe Seals, father of five, who had been employed with the Jersey City Force since 2006.
Citing officials, the New York Times reported that the shooters fled from the cemetery in a truck and reached the kosher supermarket, where they started firing at the police officers and the civilians. As per the newspaper, investigators claimed the store to have been promptly chosen as the site for shootout.
According to the mayor and local media, all schools in Jersey City were shutdown until afternoon. According to Kelly, the incident reportedly happened in an “up and coming” neighbourhood of Jersey City, a town of 265,000 residents of varied races.
“This neighbourhood has had challenges. It has become a much safer, much better neighbourhood over the last two years, three years or so. We can only say folks that live in the neighbourhood support the police department. They were out there showing support”, the Police Chief was reported as saying.
Tweeting on the unfortunate incident, U.S. President Donald Trump said: “Just received a briefing on the horrific shootout that took place in Jersey City, NJ. Our thoughts & prayers are with the victims & their families during this very difficult & tragic time. We will continue to monitor the situation as we assist local & state officials on the ground.”