Several people, including at least one officer, were killed in Jersey City, New Jersey, on Tuesday afternoon after two people opened fire around a convenience store, officials said, touching off a firefight involving dozens of law enforcement officers that made the residential area take on the feel of a war zone.
The Jersey City mayor said there were “multiple deceased” inside the building.
For more than an hour, loud exchanges of gunfire rang out in the city’s Greenville neighborhood. Helicopters circled overhead as police officers swarmed the streets.
They aimed handguns and long guns in every direction as they traveled down the street in formations, knocking on doors and ushering residents and business owners to safety.
The shooting took place on Martin Luther King Drive near Bayview Avenue, according to local media. Jersey City is just west of New York City, across the Hudson River.
The Hudson County prosecutor’s office said earlier that one police officer was killed and that another had been wounded in the gunfight.
Gov. Philip D. Murphy said in a statement: “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.”
Police vehicles from Hudson County, Bergen County, West New York and Jersey City lined the block from Grant Avenue to Myrtle Avenue.
Sacred Heart School, a Catholic elementary school across from the scene of the shooting, was placed on lockdown, a worker at the school said. The students there had not been harmed.
“The situation is outside and it’s ongoing,” the worker said.
Multiple law enforcement agencies were responding to the scene, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
A spokesman for the ATF said the agency was treating the incident as an “active shooter” situation as of 1:45 p.m. Tuesday.
New Jersey Transit said it was suspending bus service and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service as officers continued to respond.
Twelve public schools in the vicinity of the shooting were shut down and on lockdown, according to the superintendent of Jersey City Public Schools, Frank Walker.
Walker said he was told that gunfire broke out around 12:30 p.m. He and his staff were communicating with police officers, who were still responding to the shooting, he said.
Schools in neighboring Bayonne, New Jersey, were ordered to shelter in place as a result of the police activity.