A black-clad couple armed with long rifles opened fire on lunchtime locals along a Jersey City sidewalk, killing one police officer in a Tuesday fusillade that also left multiple victims dead inside a kosher grocery store, according to Mayor Steve Fulop.
A second officer was shot and wounded, while two other cops were injured by shrapnel during the lengthy firefight. Multiple reports indicated that three civilians and the two shooters were found dead inside the JC Kosher Supermarket.
Dozens of shots were fired from the store in a barrage of gunfire, with cops shooting back and hitting at least one of the shooters during the rampage. One civilian on the street was shot and wounded as the gunfight continued, and several other civilians were trapped inside the store when the gunplay began.
The shooting does not initially appear to be terror-related, law enforcement sources told the New York Daily News. NJ.com identified the shooters as a man and a woman who arrived inside a U-Haul van and jumped out carrying the long rifles, while neighborhood residents ran for their lives amid the gunfire.
“I heard fighting outside, then ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’” said one worker at the Crown Fried Fish and Chicken store just two blocks from the shooting. “I saw people running outside — men, women, children in the street. These people were scared.”
The violence on Martin Luther King Drive and Bayview Avenue began about 12:20 p.m., drawing dozens of tri-state law enforcement agencies — including cops from the NYPD’s elite Emergency Services Units and a department helicopter flying over the Garden State city. The shooting continued at regular intervals until about 2 p.m., when the gunfire finally abated.
“It’s like firecrackers going off,” said Andy Patel, a local liquor store owner. “They were shooting like crazy … then it stopped for like 20 or 30 minutes.”
A worker at the nearby Good Luck Laundromat recounted the chaotic scene once the shooting began, sending her running for safety in the rear of the business.
“I can’t get out, they told us to stay inside,” she told The News by phone. “I’m by myself. It’s scary.”
The 43-year-old employee said she noticed a commotion through the front window before a cop arrived to direct pedestrians on the sidewalk away from the line of fire.
“A police officer started telling people, ‘Get inside! Don’t come out! Stay inside!’” she recounted. “Everyone just did what they told us to do.”
The incident began a short time earlier when a police officer was shot about a mile away at Bayview Cemetery. Cops were investigating whether the same attackers shot the first officer before retreating to the nearby corner store.
Once inside, the shooters began firing randomly through the windows at anyone on the street, officials said. Pedestrians were told to evacuate MLK Drive in response.
“I have been briefed on the unfolding situation in Jersey City,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “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.”
Jersey City school students were kept in their classrooms until 4:15 p.m., when officials gave the all-clear and allowed the kids to head home.
A video tweeted by Breaking News 911 shows a dozen armed cops walking single file down the street as they neared the store.
Cops said in radio transmissions that the shooters also fired a handful of shots at the nearby Sacred Heart School, as well as blasting away at any cops who dared approach the store.
Nearly a dozen nearby schools were put on lockdown as police responded to the scene, officials said.