6 killed in New Jersey gunbattle, together with police officer

By DAVID PORTER

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Six folks, together with a police officer and three bystanders, have been killed in a livid gun battle Tuesday that crammed the streets of Jersey Metropolis with the sound of heavy hearth for hours, authorities stated.

The lifeless included the 2 gunmen, Jersey Metropolis Police Chief Michael Kelly stated.

The slain officer, Detective Joseph Seals, 40, was credited by his superiors with having led the division within the variety of unlawful weapons faraway from the streets lately, and might need been attempting to cease an incident involving such weapons when he was minimize down by gunfire that erupted close to a cemetery, authorities stated.

The taking pictures then continued at a kosher grocery store a few mile away, the place 5 extra our bodies have been discovered, Kelly stated.

Authorities consider the Jewish market was focused by the gunmen, Jersey Metropolis Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted Tuesday evening. Fulop, whose public security director stated earlier within the day that terrorism wasn’t suspected, didn’t elaborate on why authorities now consider the market was focused.

Messages have been left Tuesday evening looking for touch upon Fulop’s tweet.

“It’s a really tough day for the city of Jersey City,” Fulop stated. Seals “was one of the best officers for getting the most guns off the streets. He was a good cop.”

Two different officers have been wounded however have been later launched from the hospital, authorities stated.

The bullets began flying early within the afternoon within the metropolis of about 270,000 folks, located throughout the Hudson River from New York Metropolis. Seals, who labored for a unit referred to as Stop Fireplace, was shot round 12:30 p.m. The gunmen then drove a stolen rental van to a different a part of town and engaged police in a prolonged shootout.

Kelly stated when police responded to the realm of the kosher retailer, officers “were immediately engaged by high-power rifle fire.”

A video shot by a witness exhibits a police officer on the bottom by a automobile, apparently wounded. One other officer goes to him, helps him up and the 2 run round a nook as gunshots ring out. Seconds later, as a police cruiser pulls up in entrance of the shop, a few dozen pictures are heard in fast succession.

“Our officers were under fire for hours,” the chief stated.

Contained in the grocery retailer, police discovered the our bodies of who they believed have been the 2 gunmen and three different individuals who apparently occurred to be there when the assailants rushed in, authorities stated. Police stated they have been assured the bystanders have been shot by the gunmen and never by police.

The kosher grocery is a central fixture in a rising group of Orthodox Jews who’ve been transferring to Jersey Metropolis lately.

Chabad Rabbi Moshe Schapiro, who retailers on the kosher retailer and attends a synagogue subsequent door, stated he spoke with the shop proprietor, Moishe Ferencz.

“He told me he had just walked out of the store into the synagogue not five feet away just before this happened, and then he couldn’t get back for hours,” Schapiro stated. “His wife was inside the store. He said, ‘I hope my wife is safe.’”

The names of the victims inside the shop weren’t instantly launched, pending notification of family members.

Metropolis Public Security Director James Shea stated earlier Tuesday that authorities consider the bloodshed was not an act of terrorism however that it was nonetheless underneath investigation.

The taking pictures unfold concern by means of the neighborhood, and the close by Sacred Coronary heart College was placed on lockdown as a precaution.

SWAT groups, state police and federal brokers converged on the scene, and police blocked off the realm, which along with the varsity and grocery store included a hair salon and different retailers. Dozens of bystanders pressed towards the police barrier to seize the motion on their cellphones, some whooping when bursts of fireplace might be heard.

Video shot by residents recorded loud volleys of gunfire reverberating alongside one of many metropolis’s most important streets and confirmed a protracted line of regulation enforcement officers pointing weapons as they superior, yelling to bystanders, “Clear the street! Get out of the way!”

“It’s like firecrackers going off,” stated Andy Patel, who works at a liquor retailer about three blocks away. “They were shooting like crazy. … The cops were clearing everyone off the streets.”

Police additionally eliminated what they described as a potential “incendiary device” from the rental automobile and despatched it for examination by a bomb squad. The outcomes of that examination weren’t out there Tuesday night.

Seals had been on the Jersey Metropolis Police Division since 2006. Along with his work with the unlawful weapons unit, he was cited for heroism in a Christmas Eve 2008 incident during which he and one other officer burst by means of the window of a house and stopped a sexual assault that was being carried out towards a 41-year-old lady.

Seventh grader Zamir Butler stated his class was coming again inside from the playground at Sacred Coronary heart, which sits throughout the road from the grocery retailer, when he heard the pictures. At first he thought they have been thunder, because it had rained earlier.

“Everybody was running up the stairs to get to safety in the classroom,” he stated. “A few of the kids were crying. They told us to stay behind the wall and stay down.”

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This story has been corrected to indicate that the spelling of the title of the rabbi who attends a synagogue subsequent to the market is Moshe Schapiro, not Moshe Shapiro.

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Related Press writers Wayne Parry in Atlantic Metropolis; Deepti Hajela in Jersey Metropolis, Michael Catalini in Trenton, Claudia Lauer in Philadelphia and Michael Sisak and Shelley Acoca in New York contributed to this story.

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