Watch live: Reporters update on shooting in Jersey City
JERSEY CITY — Detective Joseph Seals was killed in a sprawling gunfight that stretched from a cemetery to a supermarket and rocked a Jersey City neighborhood, police said.
Five others were killed inside a supermarket, two may have been suspects, according to Jersey City police. Two more cops were injured after the gunfight erupted on the rain-soaked streets of Jersey City Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
Officers were “under fire for hours,” said Police Chief Mike Kelly, who said the suspects used high-powered rifles.
Mayor Steven Fulop said that officers entered the supermarket on Bayview Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive where they found “multiple deceased” in the grocery store.
Barrages of bullets were sent through the typically crowded streets, as police and at least two gunmen exchanged fire for over two hours.
The two officers, one shot in the shoulder and other in the body, have since been released from the hospital.
While police were responding to reports of shots fired on Martin Luther King Drive, they learned that Seals, a father of five, was killed on Garfield Avenue near Caven Point, Kelly said. He was a member of the Cease Fire Unit, Kelly said.
Moishe Ferencz, the owner of the store, JC Kosher Supermarket, said, “There were people in the store; there were people who were shot.” He did not say whether he was at the store at the time and declined to make any further comments.
WNBC New York reported shortly after 2:30 p.m. that two shooters were down.
Gov. Phil Murphy confirmed police officers were shot in a statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women of the Jersey City Police Department, especially with the officers shot during this standoff, and with the residents and school children currently under lockdown,” Murphy said.
Law enforcement sources cited by WNBC New York said one individual with a long gun was firing from a bodega located near Martin Luther King Drive and Wilkinson Avenue.
Frequent gunshots were heard in the vicinity as the Hudson County SWAT team along with the FBI, Jersey City Police and agents from The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene.
President Donald Trump tweeted that he had been briefed on the shooting and was monitoring the situation.
“Just received a briefing on the horrific shootout that took place in Jersey City, NJ. Our thoughts & prayers are w/ 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,” Trump tweeted.
Jersey City resident James Scott, 45, was on Martin Luther King Drive and Wilkerson Avenue when he heard gunfire.
“I was on the corner of Martin Luther King. Next thing you know there was shots fired. We all ducked to the ground. I got out of here,” Scott said.
Lorenzo Richardson, who works at the Urban League of Hudson County located on Martin Luther King Drive, said that around 12:30 p.m. he started hearing a “very loud boom.” He was locked in his office while speaking to a reporter.
“Big, big shots. [They] sounded like it came from a cannon. You can hear through the windows, through the inner walls,” Richardson said.
All Jersey City Schools were on lockdown until 4:15 p.m. when Fulip said that students would start to be released from schools.
The New Jersey Turnpike closed exit ramps at Interchange 14B in Jersey City at about 2 p.m. due to the gunfire.
The New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association tweeted a message of support to Jersey City police.
“We need a lot of prayers right now for Jersey City officers. Keep all those involved in your thoughts,” The NJSPBA tweeted.
Staff writer Ricardo Kaulessar contributed to this report.