A suspect involved in a prolonged firefight in Jersey City, N.J., that left six people dead, including one police officer, had published anti-Semitic and anti-police posts online and investigators believe the attack was motivated by those sentiments, a law enforcement official familiar with the case said on Wednesday.
The Jersey City mayor said surveillance footage indicated that the two shooters had targeted a kosher supermarket where most of the carnage unfolded.
On Twitter Wednesday, Mayor Steven Fulop wrote that an “extensive review” of the city’s closed-circuit cameras made it clear “that these two individuals targeted the kosher grocery location” where they opened fire and sparked a gun battle with police officers.
Mr. Fulop has not said whether the violence was related to anti-Semitism, though in a follow-up post on Twitter, he said that “hate and anti-Semitism have never had a place” in Jersey City.
So far, the authorities have not identified the shooters, who were killed in the firefight.
None of the three victims inside the store have been publicly identified by officials. The Jersey City police officer who was killed was identified on Tuesday as Detective Joe Seals.
Detective Seals approached the two suspects, a man and a woman, who were inside a U-Haul van at a cemetery near the kosher market because the van had been linked to a homicide over the weekend, according to the law enforcement official. The official did not have any more details on the homicide.
Video surveillance footage shows the suspects shooting the detective and then driving away and ending up in front of the kosher market where they park and enter the store guns firing, the official said.
For much of at least the next hour, residents nearby — and blocks away — could hear rapid bursts of gunfire coming from the area around the market. Investigators later found a live pipe bomb inside the van, the official said.
Initially, investigators said they believed that market was a random choice by the shooters and that the episode was not a hate crime. The city’s director of public safety said at an afternoon news conference that there was “no indication” of terrorism.”
By Tuesday night, however, Mr. Fulop, said on Twitter that officials now believed that the shooters had “targeted the location they attacked.”
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