Six dead in New Jersey gunbattle
Two gunmen and a police officer were among the dead. Authorities believe it was not an act of terrorism.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Six people, including a police officer and three bystanders, were killed in a furious gunbattle Tuesday that filled the streets of Jersey City with the sound of heavy fire for hours, authorities said.
The dead included the two gunmen, Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said.
The slain officer, Detective Joseph Seals, 40, 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 bullets started flying early in the afternoon in the city of about 270,000 people, situated across the Hudson River from New York City. Seals, who worked for a unit called Cease Fire, was shot around 12:30 p.m. The gunmen then traveled to another part of the city in a stolen rental van and engaged police in a protracted shootout.
“Our officers were under fire for hours,” the chief said.
Inside a kosher grocery store, police found the bodies of what they believed were the two gunmen and three other people who apparently happened to be in the place when the assailants rushed in, authorities said. Police said they were confident that all those killed were shot by the gunmen and not by police.
The kosher grocery is a central fixture in a growing community of Orthodox Jews in Jersey City. Authorities were unable to say why the gunmen went there.
A police officer works the scene of a fatal police-involved shooting on Martin Luther King Drive in Jersey City, N.J.