Four innocent people were killed and two gunmen slain on Tuesday after a chaotic Jersey City shooting rampage which ended in a Jewish market.
The gunmen – who still have not been named – started their rampage in a cemetery where they opened fire on Detective Joseph Seals after he approached them to ask them questions about the murder of a man over the weekend.
They then fled in a stolen U-Haul van and barreled into the JC Kosher Supermarket.
For two hours, they exchanged gunfire with police in a terrifying siege which put schools in the area on lockdown and had residents running for their lives.
The stand-off ended when cops rammed the storefront. Once inside, they found the two gunmen dead from gunshot wounds along with three victims; Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, who was married to the JC Kosher Supermarket’s owner, Moshe Hirsch Deutsch, 24, from Brooklyn, and a third, as yet unidentified victim.
It remains unclear how or exactly when they died.
Now, questions remain over who the shooters were and what their motive for the deadly chain of events was.
Jersey City mayor Steven Fulop tweeted on Tuesday night that the store was ‘targeted’ and that it was an anti-Semitic attack. Police will not yet confirm that detail.
Bloodbath: The inside of the JC Kosher Supermarket on Tuesday night as investigators clean up following the shooting. Three innocent people were killed inside the store
Police secure and investigate the scene of a multiple shooting in Jersey City on Tuesday. Six people were killed, including the two shooters and a police officer, earlier on the same day when two men shot a police officer in an area cemetery and then had a shootout with police from inside a kosher supermarket
After killing a police detective a mile away, the suspects drove straight to this kosher market, which is attached to a Jewish synagogue and is Jersey City’s only strictly kosher store. A two-hour standoff ensued and three civilians died
A map shows the location where the detective was killed in the cemetery, and the subsequent standoff at the market
Attack began with shooting of cop investigating livery cab murder
The chaos began shortly before 12.30pm, when Detective Joseph Seals, 39, was shot dead by the two suspects at the Bay View Cemetery, which is a Protestant Christian burial ground.
Seals, a married father of five and member of the CeaseFire Unit dedicated to de-escalating gun violence, was investigating the death of Michael Rumberger, 34.
He was found dead on Saturday.
Sources say that Seals spotted a stolen U-Haul van that police suspected was linked to Rumberger’s murder, and approached the vehicle near the cemetery, WNBC-TV reported.
The chaos began shortly before 12.30pm, when Detective Joseph Seals, 39, (seen left with his wife) was shot dead by the two suspects at the Bay View Cemetery, which is a Protestant Christian burial ground. Seals, a married father of five and member of the CeaseFire Unit dedicated to de-escalating gun violence, was investigating the death of Michael Rumberger, 34. (right)
As Seals approached, a suspect got out of the van to shoot the officer before speeding off. Police immediately pursued.
Timeline of Jersey City shootout
Prior to 12.30pm: Detective Seals is shot dead at Bay View Cemetery after approaching a suspect vehicle in a homicide investigation.
The two suspects flee the cemetery in a stolen U-Haul and are immediately pursued by police.
12.30pm: About mile away, the suspects ditch the stolen U-Haul and run inside the JC Kosher Supermarket, taking hostages.
12.30pm to around 3pm: Suspects fired repeatedly at cops from inside the store, as police set up a perimeter.
Around 3pm: Cops stormed the market in an armored vehicle, crashing through the plate glass window. Cops killed the suspects, and three civilians were found dead at the suspects’ hands.
4.15pm: Children were finally released from nearby schools after lockdowns lifted.
The suspects apparently drove in the stolen U-Haul directly to the JC Kosher Supermarket, about a mile away.
Shots were reported in the area at around 12.30pm, as the two suspects, clad in all-black and armed with assault rifles, stormed the store.
Suspects storm kosher market, kill civilians and engage police in standoff
Surveillance video shows the two suspects shoot a Hasidic Jewish man on the street and then run into the store, where they began firing at the victims inside, according to WNYC.
The suspects, donning long black coats, wielding high-powered rifles and with a large supply of ammo. Officials are investigating a possible makeshift pipe-bomb device inside the truck, but it may not have been functional, officials said.
A hours-long standoff ensued, with the suspects barricaded inside the store and firing at any officers who approached.
Two cops, Officers Ray Sanchez and Mariela Fernandez, were struck by gunfire and injured in the shootout, but both have been released from the hospital in good condition.
The fierce shootout terrified residents as gunfire rang out for hours. By the end, three innocent civilians were dead, and police stormed the market and killed the two suspects.
The day of chaos across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan produced numerous conflicting reports about the shooters and the sequence of events, and many details have yet to be resolved.
Detectives examine the crime scene in Jersey City last night after the raging shootout ended with six people dead. The Mayor has said the attack was ‘targeted’ and a city councilman claims that it was ‘motivated by anti-Semitism’
In a raging gun battle six people – a Jersey City police officer, three civilians and two suspects – were killed in the Tuesday afternoon standoff and shootout across the Hudson River from Manhattan (pictured: a local resident surveys the scene, left, and a heavily armed officer, right, secures the area)
Police secure and investigate the scene of a shooting in Jersey City after the standoff ended on Tuesday night
Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies are seen securing the scene after the shootout on Tuesday
Officials remember fallen officer as dedicated member of CeaseFire Unit
Seals was a member of the CeaseFire unit which often tries to intervene in gang conflicts to prevent retaliatory killings after drug murders.
Seals was reportedly following up on a homicide investigation when he approached the two suspects in the cemetery.
He was a member of the CeaseFire unit, which often tries to intervene in gang conflicts to prevent retaliatory killings after drug murders.
Officials say that Seals was responsible for getting dozens of illegal firearms off the streets.
However, Chief Kelly declined to specify exactly what kind of investigation Seals was pursuing at the time he confronted the two suspects.
Kelly said that Seals had joined the Jersey City police department in 2006, and praised him as dedicated detective who was well-liked on the force.
‘Joe was somebody who was involved in city,’ said Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop at a press conference. ‘Officers in other precincts knew who he was because he was a good cop.’
After shooting Seals, the two suspects fled the scene in what police describe as a stolen U-Haul truck.
Chief Kelly said that authorities are investigating a possible ‘incendiary device’ found in the stolen truck, but earlier reports that the vehicle was filled with pipe bombs could not be immediately confirmed by DailyMail.com.
Police officers arrive at the scene of an active shooting in Jersey City, New Jersey, on December 10, 2019
Video showed dozens of SWAT officers closing in on the bodega where the shots originated
Medics are seen loading an injured woman into an ambulance on Martin Luther King Drive
Residents’ terror as hundreds of rounds fly during hours-long shootout
The bullets started flying early in the afternoon in the city of about 270,000 people, situated across the Hudson River from the Statue of Liberty.
The shooting spread fear through the neighborhood, and the nearby Sacred Heart School was put on lockdown as a precaution.
Witness Brian Clark told CBS2: ‘I got caught in a one way street with a bunch of cars and I was wondering why nobody was moving. And all of a sudden I heard it. All the shots started. Shots started ringing out.
‘When I heard it, I see people running. I got out of the car and I see cops ducked down, and cops getting out of the way.
Newark Police Officer Joseph Kerik (left), the son of former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik (with him right) was one of the SWAT officers who stormed the market in an armored vehicle and shot the two desperate criminals dead
Children are seen heading home after sunset when the all-clear was finally given after the shootout
Kids were finally released from school hours late after enduring a lockdown during the standoff
‘And I’m wondering why, what the hell? So I get out of my car and I see it, and I heard it – pow pow pow pow pow – then I realized I was in a shootout. I never heard that many shots in my life. It was like I was in a war zone.’
Andy Patel, works at a liquor store about three blocks away from the site of the shooting, told the Associated Press there had been consistent gunfire for at least an hour.
‘I can hear the gunshots. It’s like firecrackers going off,’ Patel said. ‘They were shooting like crazy about an hour ago. Then it stopped for like 20 or 30 minutes. The cops were clearing everyone off the streets.’
The standoff sparked a massive multi-agency response, and the scene was flooded with heavily armed NYPD emergency services unit officers, FBI agents,Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, and counter-terrorism task force officers.
Police blocked off the area while dozens of bystanders stood around the perimeter and filmed the action on their cellphones.
Emergency responders move heavy equipment near the scene of a shooting in Jersey City on Tuesday
An armored NYPD vehicle was used in the standoff. This vehicle or another like it crashed through the storefront
NYPD ESU officers are seen during the standoff with an armored transport that is used to approach armed suspects
Kosher market is at center of small but growing Orthodox Jewish community
The kosher grocery is a central fixture in a growing community of Orthodox Jews who have been moving to Jersey City in recent years. Authorities were unable to immediately say why the gunmen went there.
Rabbi Moshe Shapiro, who shops at the kosher store and attends a synagogue next door, said he spoke with the store owner, Moishe Ferencz.
‘He told me he had just walked out of the store into the synagogue not five feet away just before this happened, and then he couldn’t get back for hours,’ Shapiro said. ‘His wife was inside the store. He said, `I hope my wife is safe.´’
The shootout went on for at least two hours, until police were able to take out the two suspects. The son of former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik was among the cops who helped take down the shooters, a source told the New York Post.
Kerik’s son Joseph Kerik, a cop in Newark and member of a federal task force, was among the officers on board an armored truck that ended the standoff by smashing through the market’s plate glass window and engaging the suspects, shooting them dead.
Along with the two dead suspects, police found three dead civilians inside the store. Chief Kelly said that preliminary information indicated that they were killed by the suspects, and not by friendly fire from the officers trying to save them.
The Sacred Heart School, located across the street from where the shooting took place, was put on lockdown shortly after noon.
The terrified students were allowed to leave when the lockdown ended at 4.15pm, hours after school was supposed to let out.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tweeted that he had been briefed on the unfolding situation.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women of the Jersey City Police Department, especially with the officers shot during this standoff, and with the residents and schoolchildren currently under lockdown,’ Murphy wrote.
Snipers were later seen on the roof of the building.
Jersey City Board of Education President Sudhan Thomas confirmed that both Lincoln and Snyder high schools are on lockdown, as well as Schools 12, 14, 29, and 41.
President Donald Trump tweeted: ‘Just received a briefing on the horrific shootout that took place in Jersey City, NJ. 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.’