JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — The gunmen in a furious firefight that left six people dead in Jersey City clearly targeted a Jewish market, the mayor said Wednesday, amid growing suspicions the bloodshed was an anti-Semitic attack.
Mayor Steven Fulop refused to call it an anti-Semitic attack but said surveillance video showed the gunmen driving slowly through the city’s streets and then stopping outside a kosher grocery store, where they calmly got out of their van and immediately opened fire.
A police officer, three bystanders and the killers all died in the violence Tuesday afternoon in the city of 270,000 people across the Hudson River from New York City.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on MSNBC that the attack was “clearly a hate crime,” while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pronounced it a “deliberate attack on the Jewish community.” They announced tighter police protection of synagogues and other Jewish establishments in New York as a precaution.
In the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history, 11 people were killed in an October 2018 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Last April, a gunman opened fire at a synagogue north of San Diego, killing a woman and wounding a rabbi and two others.
The kosher grocery is a central fixture in a growing community of Orthodox Jews who have been moving to Jersey City in recent years and settling in what was a mostly black section of Jersey City.