At least six people, including one police officer and two suspected gunmen, were killed in a shootout around a New Jersey grocery store across the Hudson River from Manhattan yesterday afternoon, prompting a security lockdown of area schools, officials and local media said.
Five people - three civilian victims and the two suspects - were pronounced dead inside the store - and a police detective also died in an exchange of gunfire in which hundreds of rounds were fired, police chief Michael Kelly said.
He said he believed the dead were all struck by gunfire from the suspects, who arrived at the scene in U-Haul truck and held police at bay around the store for hours in a deadly standoff.
“Their movement was rapid and continuous for four hours within that area,” the chief said.
Local media reported the shooting unfolded at or near the JC Kosher Supermarket, though police said there was no immediate evidence the bloodshed was terror-related.
Two more police officers and a civilian were wounded in the shootout but were in stable condition, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office posted on Twitter. The deceased officer was a father of five, police said.
The standoff prompted a massive law enforcement deployment with local SWAT teams and federal agents rushing to the scene, as well as emergency services from the neighbouring New York City Police Department.
All schools in Jersey City, which faces Manhattan across the Hudson River, were placed on lockdown which was lifted later in the afternoon, according to the mayor and local media.
Few official details of the gun violence were immediately available. But local media reported the confrontation between suspects and police started in or near a cemetery and was linked to a previous homicide investigation.
US President Donald Trump said on Twitter: “Just received a briefing on the horrific shootout that took place in Jersey City, NJ. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims & their families during this very difficult and tragic time.
“We will continue to monitor the situation as we assist local and state officials on the ground,” Trump wrote.