US: 4 murdered in shooting attack and hostage situation at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey
BREAKING: Three civilians and a police officer were murdered by two gunmen following a shooting attack and hostage situation at a kosher grocery store in Jersey City.
Two gunmen -a man and a woman- were firing at police officers and random people from inside a Kosher grocery store located at 223 Martin Luther King Drive near Bidwell Avenue.
According to sources, two attackers and three civilian victims were found dead inside the store.
There are reports that the shooting was an ambush after a “drug bust gone bad”.
According to three senior law enforcement officials, the shoot-out began as a homicide investigation. The deceased officer approached suspects in that investigation and was shot and killed. The suspects then fled into the kosher store, where the standoff started.
Law enforcement sources identified the dead officer as a 39-year-old married father of five.
Police say the gunmen arrived in a U-Haul van and had long-guns. A SWAT team was responding and police snipers were posted on rooftops.
Police reported in radio transmissions that pipe bombs were found in the U-Haul.
A witness saw a U-Haul truck leaving the cemetery earlier. An officer was shot at the cemetery a few blocks from the store before the shooting at the store.
Security forces are asking all residents of Jersey City to stay inside, shelter in place and to stay away from windows.
Sources say that the kosher grocery store, a Jewish-owned establishment, is next door to a synagogue and near Jewish schools.
There are 40 children on lockdown inside a Jewish elementary school near the store.
Around 30,000 students across 43 different schools that were under lockdown due to Jersey City shooting will reportedly be released at 4:15 p.m. local time.
Police said in radio transmission that the gunmen were shooting at anyone they see on the street.
UPDATE: An eyewitness confirmed that two of the civilians are members of the Chassidic community, Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, of Jersey City, who owned the store with her husband, and Moshe Hirsch Deutsch, 24, of Brooklyn.
One Chassidic Jew was evacuated to an area hospital with multiple gunshot wounds and is recovering in good condition. He slipped out the back door of the store when the shooting began and was struck multiple times.
Officials initially said there was “no indication of terrorism,” but Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop stated on Twitter that “Based on our initial investigation (which is ongoing) we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked.”
Mayor Fulop did not say whether the attack was connected to antisemitism or terrorism and sources close to the investigation dismiss the assertion.