A police officer, three civilians and two suspected gunmen were killed in the melee, which lasted roughly an hour and prompted evacuations and a massive police response in the neighborhood, located just over the Hudson River near the Statue of Liberty.
Officials said they don’t believe the shooting was terror-related, though as of deadline there was no official word on what provocated the bloodshed, nor was it known how many suspects were involved. Police did not say whether anyone was taken into custody in connection to the incident, and the identities of the deceased were not made public.
The fallen police officer was pronounced dead at a local hospital, and the other deceased, including two shooters, were found at JC Kosher Supermarket, located at 223 Martin Luther King Drive, between Bidwell and Bayview Avenues. NBC New York reported that the deceased officer was a married father of five.
The barrage of rapid succession gunfire first rang out around 12:30 p.m., with frantic witnesses describing hundreds of shots fired. One person on social media described the area as “a war zone.” SWAT teams and federal agents rushed to the scene, as did NYPD. Helicopters and drones surveyed the area from above.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop gave an update on the standoff just before 4 p.m., saying there were “multiple deceased” people. Fulop described the scene at that time as “still active but secure,” and said others were injured, including two officers who were struck by shrapnel.
“One of the officers tragically has given his life,” Fulop said later on Twitter, and asked people to keep police in their prayers. Schools, including an elementary school in close proximity to the scene, were put on lockdown. Students were later released and no children were harmed.
Earlier, an officer was shot several blocks away, in Bayview Cemetery, Fulop said. Police were investigating whether the gunmen shot that officer before fleeing to the market, where they continued to fire through the building’s windows. Local media reported that confrontation was connected to a previous homicide investigation.
NJ Transit suspended nearby rail and bus service on the west side of Jersey City.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 10, 2019
Active shooters still firing in Jersey City. Sounds like a war zone. pic.twitter.com/r3JajWsTfO
— Mark Elliott (@markmobility) December 10, 2019
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the tragedy on Twitter Tuesday, saying “the NYPD is closely monitoring the ongoing situation in Jersey City and we stand ready to assist in any way we can. Please keep our neighbors in Jersey City in your thoughts today, especially the brave officers and first responders going into harm’s way to protect lives.”
President Trump also tweeted about the situation, calling it a “horrific shootout.”
“Our thoughts & prayers are w/ the victims & their families during this very difficult & tragic time. We will continue to monitor the situation as we assist local & state officials on the ground,” Trump said.