Police in theNew Yorkmetropolitan area were put on high alert to protect Jewish neighborhoods on Wednesday after an hours-long gun battle with two suspects around a Jersey City kosher market that killed six people, authorities said.
The police shootout with two suspects armed with high-powered rifles erupted after midday on Tuesday in Jersey City, New Jersey’s second-largest municipality directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan. The six dead included three civilians, one police officer and both suspects, authorities said.
Jersey City police said initially that the suspects ’motive was not known. But the mayor, Steven Fulop, said on Tuesday night that two suspects had deliberately targeted the Jewish JC Kosher Supermarket where the four-hour gunbattle played out.
One suspect had published antisemitic content online, and investigators believe the attack was motivated by those sentiments, the New York TimesreportedWednesday, quoting a law enforcement official.
Video shot by residents recorded loud volleys of gunfire reverberating along one of the city’s main streets and showed a long line of law enforcement officers pointing guns as they advanced, yelling to bystanders: “Clear the street! Get out of the way! ”
“Based on our initial investigation (which is ongoing) we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked,” Fulop said in a tweet. “Due to an excess of caution the community may see additional police resources in the days / weeks ahead,” Fulop wrote. “We have no indication there are any further threat (s).”
Fulop added: “I’m Jewish and proud to live in a community like Jersey City that has always welcomed everyone. It is the home of Ellis Island and has always been the golden door to America. Hate and anti-semitism have never had a place here in JC and will never have a place in our city ”.
New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, tweeted that while there was no known specific threat to the city, he had placed city police on high alert, in particular to protect Jewish residents.
“Tonight NYPD assets are being deployed to protect key locations in the Jewish community. Tomorrow we will announce additional measures, ”he said. “This tragically confirms that a growing pattern of violent antisemitism has now turned into a crisis for our nation. And now this threat has reached the doorstep of New York City. ”
Police had said earlier on Tuesday they believed the kosher grocery was randomly singled out by the suspects.
Jersey City’s police chief, Michael Kelly, told reporters there was no immediate evidence the bloodshed was a hate crime or terrorism-related, “but that’s certainly on the table”.
Some local media reported the initial confrontation between the suspects and police near the Jersey City cemetery, about a mile away from the supermarket, was linked to a previous homicide investigation. A police bomb squad was also investigating a possible explosive found in the stolen U-Haul vehicle the suspects drove.
NYC PBA(@ NYCPBA)
This is Det. Joseph Seals, the hero cop who gave his life keeping Jersey City safe. He leaves behind a wife and 5 children. Let’s remember to keep his family and fellow officers in our thoughts and prayers tonight.pic.twitter.com/ZdU3EfN6nR(*****
The officer who was shot dead, Det Joseph Seals, (**************************************, was credited by his superiors with having led the department in the number of illegal guns removed from the streets in recent years, and might have been trying to stop an incident involving such weapons when he was cut down by gunfire that erupted near a cemetery, authorities said.
The identities of the two suspects were not immediately released.
Donald Trump said on Twitter: “Just received a briefing on the horrific shootout that took place in Jersey City. Our thoughts & prayers are w / the victims & their families during this very difficult & tragic time. ”
Last year, a 728 – year -old Pennsylvania man, Robert Bowers, was arrested and accused of bursting into a Pittsburgh synagogue with a semi-automatic rifle and shooting people to death. The October 1204590210652266498 massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue was the deadliest attack ever on Jewish Americans in the United States. Bowers now faces the death penalty on multiple murder charges.
Last week a Saudi air force lieutenant shot deadthree peopleat a naval base in Pensacola, Florida, after making social media posts about US support for Israel, in what the FBI said was a presumed “act of terrorism”.
In January 2015 an Islamic State sympathizer took hostages andFourshoppers at a kosher supermarket in Paris, France.