CHICAGO (CBS Chicago/CBSNewYork) — Chicago Police on Tuesday offered condolences after a police officer and five others were killed in a gun battle in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the Jersey City Police Department, along with the families and friends of Detective Joseph Seals whose life was taken today in an apparent ambush incident,” Chicago Police tweeted. “We are also praying for a speedy recovery for all officers who sustained injuries in the incident.”
Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with @JCPoliceDept, along with the families and friends of Detective Joseph Seals whose life was taken today in an apparent ambush incident. We are also praying for a speedy recovery for all officers who sustained injuries in the incident pic.twitter.com/0nKvX1eF4S
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) December 10, 2019
CBS New York reported the two suspects in the shootings were killed, along with three civilians.
Their bodies were found in a kosher grocery store at Bayview Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard in Jersey City after an intense, hours-long shootout with police. Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said police believe the three civilians killed in the grocery store were shot by the suspects.
The chain of events began at roughly 12:30 p.m. at the Bay View cemetery at. The suspects were spotted at the cemetery in a stolen U-Haul rental van.
Kelly said he believes Jersey City police Detective Joseph Seals – who was part of the unit responsible for removing guns from the street – was attempting to interdict weapons in the van when he approached the suspects, and they opened fire.
Seals was hit. He was rushed to the hospital, but did not survive.
This is Det Joe Seals who was killed in the line of duty today! He was a husband and father of 5. He is a #Hero and died protecting the citizens of Jersey City! God Bless his family and all of the JCPD members! #JerseyCityShooting @JCPoliceDept pic.twitter.com/pvs62bb0af
— NJ Chiefs of Police (@NJSACOP) December 10, 2019
The suspects then drove about a mile to the grocery store in the middle of a residential neighborhood, where more shots were fired, CBS New York reported.
“Units responded and were immediately engaged by high powered rifle fire,” Kelly said. He said responding officers set up a perimeter and called for mutual aid from other law enforcement agencies.
“Just about all the folks that were within earshot of us responded,” Kelly said. “[We] continued to take gunfire for hours. Our officers were under fire for hours. Two more police officers were hit by gunfire. One sustained an injury to the shoulder. One sustained another injury to the body. Those officers have since been released from the hospital.”
He identified the injured officers as Ray Sanchez and Mariela Fernandez. Kelly said “hundreds” of shots were fired during the gun battle, CBS New York reported.
CBS 2 New York’s Hazel Sanchez With Witnesses’ Reactions To The Shooting:
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop called Det. Seals “one of our best police officers.” He had been on the job for more than 15 years and was assigned to the city’s “cease fire” unit, responsible for removing guns from the street.
Jersey City Director of Public Safety James Shea said there was no indication the incident was terror-related, CBS New York reported.
Kelly said the stolen van “may contain an incendiary device” and has been taken for examination by the bomb squad.
The investigation into the shootout could take some time, retired FBI Agent Manny Gomez told WCBS-TV, CBS 2 New York’s Valerie Castro.
“It’s going to span days, weeks, maybe even months depending on where we go. We already ascertained that the good news is the suspects have been neutralized so there is no longer an immediate threat to that community. That’s the good news,” Gomez said. “The bigger picture is who are these people, who are they associated with, and is this an isolated act or is it a bigger of something else that could be applied?
From CBSN New York: Former FBI Agent Manny Gomez Discusses Investigation Into Shootout:
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and President Donald Trump were both briefed on the incident. Murphy visited the scene after the shootout. Trump called the shooting “horrific” and said his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families.