Jersey City's mayor says gunmen targeted kosher market

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Jersey City's mayor says gunmen targeted kosher market

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (AP) — The mayor of Jersey City said Wednesday it's clear that the gunmen in a furious shooting that left six people dead targeted a Jewish market.

Mayor Steven Fulop refused to call it an anti-Semitic attack but said surveillance video shows the gunmen driving slowly through the city's streets, and then stopping outside a kosher grocery store where they calmly got out of their van and immediately opened fire.

Neither the state attorney general, who is running the investigation, nor any other law enforcement authority has confirmed the shooters targeted Jews. City Public Safety Director James Shea said Tuesday that terrorism wasn't suspected.

A police officer, three bystanders and two suspects all died in the violence Tuesday afternoon in Jersey City, just across the Hudson River from New York City.

The shooting began near a cemetery, where Detective Joseph Seals, 40, who led the department in the number of illegal guns removed from the streets in recent years, was cut down by gunfire. The gunmen then drove a stolen rental van to another part of the city and engaged police in a lengthy shootout from inside the kosher market, where the five other bodies were later found.

Fulop said a review of security camera footage has led to the conclusion that the gunmen targeted the market.

“Last night after extensive review of our CCTV system it has now become clear from the cameras that these two individuals targeted the Kosher grocery location," Fulop said in tweet. He said two officers one block away immediately responded when they heard shots. Both were wounded in the subsequent gun battle and were later released from the hospital, authorities said.

At a news conference, Fulop said the surveillance video shows the van driven by the suspects moving slowly and then stopping in front of the grocery store.

“There were multiple other people on the street so there were many other targets available to them that they bypassed to attack that place, so it was clearly that was their target and they intended to harm people inside,” he said.

But Fulop sought to qualify his remarks, saying, "I didn't use the word anti-Semitic. Anything else is open for investigation."

The bullets started flying early in the afternoon in the city of about 270,000. Seals, who worked for a unit called Cease Fire, was shot around 12:30 pm.

Police Chief Michael Kelly said the officer was trying to stop some “bad guys" near the cemetery. Further details were unclear.


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