Jewish neighborhoods on alert after deadly shootout

Top News | Reuters 12 Dec 2019

Police in the New York metropolitan area were put on high alert to protect Jewish neighborhoods after an hours-long gun battle with two men around a Jersey City kosher market that killed six people, authorities said.

The police shootout with two men armed with high-powered rifles erupted after midday.

The six dead included three civilians, one police officer and both gunmen, authorities said.

Jersey City police said initially that the gunmen's motive was not known.

But Mayor Steven Fulop said the two gunmen had deliberately targeted the Jewish JC Kosher Supermarket, where the four-hour gun battle played out.

"Based on our initial investigation we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked," Fulop said in a tweet.

"Due to an excess of caution the community may see additional police resources in the days/weeks ahead. "We have no indication if there are any further threats."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that while there was no known specific threat to the city, he had placed city police on high alert, in particular to protect Jewish residents.

"This tragically confirms that a growing pattern of violent anti-Semitism has now turned into a crisis for our nation. And now this threat has reached the doorstep of New York City."

Police had said earlier they believed the kosher grocery was randomly singled out by the gunmen.

Jersey City police chief Michael Kelly said there was no immediate evidence the bloodshed was a hate crime or terrorism-related, "but that's certainly on the table."

Some local media reported the initial confrontation between the suspects and police near the cemetery, about a mile away from the supermarket, was linked to a previous homicide investigation.

The dead police officer was shot at the cemetery shortly before the shootout around the grocery began.

A police bomb squad was also investigating a possible explosive found in the stolen U-Haul vehicle the gunmen drove.

US President Donald Trump tweeted: "Just received a briefing on the horrific shootout that took place in Jersey City. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this very difficult and tragic time."


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