JERSEY CITY-An hours-long shootout that left six dead in Jersey City was a planned attack against the Jewish community according to statements by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Based on our initial investigation (which is ongoing) we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked,” Fulop said. “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.”
“Today’s incident was a deliberate attack targeting the Jewish community,” de Blasio said.
39-year-old police detective Joseph Seals, a father of five children was killed in the gun battle. Two other officers sustained gunshot wounds and were released from the hospital on Tuesday.
During a press conference, police officials said Detective Seals approached a U-Haul truck occupied by a man and a woman that he felt could have been linked to a murder that occurred over the weekend in Bayonne. As he approached the vehicle, the suspect exited and began firing on Seals before leaving. The pair then fled to the Jersey City Kosher Supermarket on Martin Luther King Drive where the gun battle began around 12:30 pm.
Police said an Orthodox Jewish man was shot outside by the assailants as they entered the building from their vehicle and began firing at patrons inside the store. After the shootout, police found guns, ammo and had bomb-making devices and components inside the truck. While police said the attack was not terror or hate-driven, Mayor Fulop suggested it was.
Moshe Hersh Deutch, 24 and Leah Mindel Ferentz, 33 were both killed inside the grocery store by the gunmen.