JERSEY CITY, N.J. – The deadly shooting that left a police officer and five others dead here targeted a kosher supermarket, the city’s mayor said Wednesday.
“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” on Martin Luther King Drive, Mayor Steve Fulop tweeted.
The detective was identified as Joseph Seals, a father of five from North Arlington who was part of a department tasked to get guns off of the city’s streets. Seals was on duty and in plainclothes Tuesday when he was shot by at least one of the suspects at Bayview Cemetery.
The shootout lasted two hours before police killed the suspects at about 2:30 p.m. The two suspects, who were not identified, and three other people were found dead inside the store.
The bystanders were struck by rounds thought to have been fired by the suspects, police said. They were inside a kosher grocery store in a section of the city that has become a gathering place for about 100 Orthodox Jewish families.
“I’m Jewish and proud to live in a community like #JerseyCity that has always welcomed everyone. It is the home of #EllisIsland 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,” the mayor said on Twitter.
Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said the officer was trying to stop some “bad guys” near a cemetery. The gunmen then drove a stolen rental van to another part of the city and engaged police in the lengthy shootout from inside the kosher market.
The front end of the supermarket was destroyed, with much of the store front in ruins. Bullet holes could be seen on the walls and windows of Sacred Heart School that face the market.
Jersey City shooting: Police officer killed was a 15-year veteran and father of five
Community residents were rattled by the violence.
“I just think that everyone wants to leave,” said Khalis Harris, 37, on Wednesday, who has lived in the neighborhood for his whole life. “If it’s not yesterday’s shooting it’ll be another one.”
Meanwhile, Seals had been working about a half-mile away when he encountered “bad guys,” Kelly said.
“I’m sure his children expected him to return home,” Kelly said.