After a shooting occurred in Jersey City, there’s the question of whether Jews are being targeted in the city or if it was just a coincidence. It seems as though a massive shootout on Tuesday involved two people with long rifles who specifically targeted a Jewish kosher deli.
The moment the shooters walked through the door of the deli, they began shooting. Three civilians were killed inside the store. The killing would likely have continued had two police officers not been only a few blocks away and responded immediately after hearing the gunshots.
Gov. Phil Murphy spoke with Pres. Donald Trump the evening of the shootout. The state attorney general has also taken charge of the investigation.
Authorities first reported that the shootout was not related to terrorism. Both attackers died. It is suspected that it was related to a prior crime. The shootout at the deli happened almost immediately after the suspects allegedly killed a police officer in a nearby cemetery.
The question remains as to whether Jewish individuals were being targeted simply because of choosing the Jewish kosher deli. After reviewing security camera footage, Mayor Steve Fulop said it was clear that the deli was a target. At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Fulop said that investigators feel comfortable identifying that the shooting was a targeted attack on the kosher deli. It was clear that the van holding the gunman drove through the Jersey City streets slowly. The perpetrator, then, stopped in front of the deli, opening the door with the long rifles, and began firing into the deli while positioned on the street.
No specific motive is known, though the mayor and the public safety director were not comfortable explicitly labeling the shooting as being anti-Semitic. However, both are convinced that more people would have died had the police officers not responded so quickly. Several schools were in the area, including a yeshiva school located near the market. Up to 100 schoolchildren were trapped inside of the school while the shootout took place.
Fulop believes that the shooters were not able to move onto the school and potentially inflict harm was because of the police responding and returning fire. The two officers who arrived at the scene first were injured. The shootout ended up lasting for four hours, causing schools to say in lockdown mode until sunset.
The attack seemed anti-Semitic, though the mayor still refuses to acknowledge it. The gunmen, as surveillance cameras show, bypassed a number of people on the street. They clearly had their sights set on those within the Jewish community.
The suspects were not named and the names of the three civilians who were killed have not been released since it is still part of a pending investigation by the Attorney General’s office.
Additionally, there are no added details about the shooting that happened in the graveyard a few blocks from the Jewish market. It is suspected that the same individuals who shot at the deli were the ones responsible for the death of the officer at the cemetery.
Meanwhile, President Trump has already been in communication with the governor and has offered to assist New Jersey with the investigation in any way possible. This includes ensuring that the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are involved to lend a hand with the investigation.
Gurbir Grewal, the Attorney General for the state of New Jersey, recognized in a speech that they know that the communities are fearful over the traumatic incidents – and rightfully so. He stated that they are committed to using all resources necessary to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all of the residents within the community.
Reporters are having a field day with what has been going on. There’s the desire to call it a display of antisemitism and label the shooting as a hate crime. However, Grewal has been quick not to call it that as he wants to see how the investigation plays out.
It’s hard not to see what happened in Jersey City as anything but a hate crime. Investigators are working to find out what the motive is, though there are plenty of discussions within the Jewish community, ready to point the finger to different hate groups in the area. NYC mayor
Bill de Blasio is also the first to confirm that it looks like blatant targeting of the Jewish community, even taking to Twitter to talk about the “growing pattern” of violent anti-Semitism that has been facing the nation. With the threat hitting New York and New Jersey, it’s only a matter of time before it spreads.