1 Cop, 2 Gunmen, 3 Others Dead in Jersey City: So Much We Don’t Know
JERSEY CITY — Six people are dead in Jersey City — two alleged gunmen, a police officer and three others after a hectic shootout that overwhelmed a neighborhood Tuesday. But even as more information about the shooting trickles out, questions remain that could take weeks or longer to answer — if they're ever answered at all.
Both alleged gunmen are dead. But so far, authorities haven't suggested a motive, haven't said how Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals came upon the gunmen before he was shot and killed near a cemetery at Garfield Avenue, haven't expanded on reports of possible explosives in a stolen U-Haul connected to the incident, and haven't released the names of most of those involved.
Authorities say two men dressed in black, after Seals was shot, drove a U-Haul truck about a mile to Martin Luther King Boulevard, where they holed up inside a Jewish market. Gunmen fired dozens of rounds into the neighborhood. Officers ducked for cover and staff at a neighboring Jewish school and synagogue and a Catholic elementary school across the street took students to opposite ends of their buildings.
Police later removed what they believed was an explosive device from the U-Haul truck, officials said.
Authorities said they believe two gunmen ended up dead in the market.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said on his Twitter account that he will announce a way to assist Seals' family on Wednesday.
Some of the questions that remain:
What triggered the shooting?
Unnamed law enforcement told ABC 7 Eyewitness News that Seals may have been investigating weekend homicide in which a Jersey City man was found dead in the back of a Lincoln Town Car in Bayonne. However, authorities haven't as yet made any public statement suggesting the same.
On Saturday just before 10 p.m., Bayonne Police responded to the area of 17th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard on a report of possible criminal activity. Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said 34-year-old Michael Rumberger was pronounced dead at the scene after being found unresponsive with head trauma in the parked vehicle's trunk. No arrests have been made in the case.
Tuesday night. Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly at a press conference said his officers were under fire for hours. "We have no inkling what the motive was yet. Our officers were under fire for hours," the chief said.
Fulop on his Twitter account said the gunmen may have purposely targeted Hodanni's Grocery.
"Based on our initial investigation (which is ongoing) we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked," Fulop said on Twitter. "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," Fulop tweeted.
Fulop's comment was met with criticism from New York State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein who said in a tweet of his own "if you believe that the Jewish community was “TARGETED” you must say it CLEARLY and MAKE SURE your constituents are protected."
Fulop did not clarify why the Greenville neighborhood location was targeted — whether it was anti-Semitic, for example — or whether the shooting was being investigated as a hate crime. A spokeswoman for the mayor referred questions to the Office of the Attorney General, which could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night. Fulop also could not be reached for further comment.
New york Mayor Bill de Blasio more explicitly tied the incident to anti-Semitism in a Tweet Tuesday:
Who are the gunmen?
Police have not released any information about the two gunmen who fired shots at Seals and from Hodanni's Market. Officials have said they do not believe the shooting is terrorism related.
Who was shot inside Hodanni's Grocery?
While police did not immediately release the names of the other victims, several Jewish publications identified two of the victims as 24-year-old Moshe Hersh Deutch and 33-year-old Leah Mindel Ferentz.
Misaskim, an Orthadox Jewish emergency relief organization, confirmed to the Lakewood Scoop that two of the people killed inside were Jewish. The group created a fund to help the families affected by the shooting shooting and the owner of the kosher market.
Are any roads, NJ Transit and PATH still affected?
NJ Transit's Bergen-Hudson Light Rail service is back to normal for the Wednesday morning commute.
Several road closures remain in effect.
- Martin Luther King Boulevard is closed between Bayview and Bidwell avenues
- Garfield Avenue closed between Danforth Avenue and Bayview Avenue
- Bidwell Avenue closed between Garfield Avenue and Bergen Avenue
- Bergen Avenue closed between Stegman Street and Wilkinson Avenue
- Bayview Avenue closed between Bergen Avenue and Ocean Avenue
Previous reporting by Sergio Bichao and material from the Associated Press was used in this report.