5 dead at Jewish market: Location was targeted, Jersey City mayor says
JERSEY CITY — Mayor Steven Fulop on Tuesday night said that gunmen who killed a police officer near a cemetery and three people at a kosher market may have purposefully targeted the location.
"Based on our initial investigation (which is ongoing) we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked," Fulop said on Twitter. "Due to an excess of caution the community may see additional police resources in the days/weeks ahead. We have no indication there are any further threats."
Fulop did not clarify why the Greenville neighborhood location was targeted — whether it was anti-Semitic, for example — or whether the shooting was being investigated as a hate crime. A spokeswoman for the mayor referred questions to the Office of the Attorney General, which could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night. Fulop also could not be reached for further comment.
Earlier in the day, police officials said that they did not believe the shooting was tied to terrorism. In all, six people were killed during the day — including two suspects at the market and the police officer near the cemetery.
In another tweet, Fulop said that he had "been in close contact with the Jewish community in #JerseyCity to help where we can.
"While we work through details/investigation of today’s incident I know the entire Jersey City community stands together with the Jewish Community during these challenging times."
Across the Hudson River, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio tied the shooting to anti-Semitism and ordered the NYPD to be on "high alert" even though "there is no credible or specific threat directed against New York City."
The market and school serve an Orthodox Jewish community of about 100 families that had moved to the state's second-largest city, and one of its most diverse, from Brooklyn, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Police said Detective Joseph Seals was shot and killed by gunmen near a cemetery at Garfield Avenue. The men then drove a U-Haul truck about a mile to Martin Luther King Boulevard, where they holed up inside a Jewish business.
Gunmen fired dozens of rounds into the neighborhood, as officers ducked for cover and staff at a neighboring Jewish school and synagogue and a Catholic elementary school across the street took students to opposite ends of their buildings.
Police later removed what they believed was an explosive device from the U-Haul truck, officials said.
Authorities said they believe two suspects ended up dead in the market.
While police did not immediately release the names of the other victims, several Jewish publications identified two of the victims as 24-year-old Moshe Hersh Deutch and 33-year-old Leah Mindel Ferentz.
Officials declined to say whether they knew what motivated the attackers or how Seals came upon the suspects near the cemetery.
According to Police Chief Michael Kelly's account, the department appeared to be unaware at first that the shooting on MLK Boulevard was related to the shooting at the cemetery. Police received a call about the shooting at MLK about 12:30 p.m.
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Kelly said that the shooting did not appear to be related to terrorism.
In addition to Seals, the gunfire injured Jersey City officers Ray Sanchez and Farinella Fernandez, who were released from the hospital by Tuesday evening.
"This is still an active investigation," Gov. Murphy said Tuesday night on Twitter. "We will leave it to law enforcement do their jobs and fill in the answers. Based on everything we know now, there are no ongoing threats to public safety that have any connections to today’s events."
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.