JERSEY CITY, N.J. - Police officers were shot Tuesday in a standoff marked by heavy gunfire reverberating through a Jersey City neighbourhood, authorities said.
The nearby Sacred Heart School was put on lockdown, but all staff and students were safe, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Newark.
Sporadic, heavy gunfire rang out over the course of at least an hour along a major thoroughfare but has quieted down. SWAT teams, state police and federal agents responded to the scene, and police blocked off the area, which, in addition to the school, has some stores, a kosher supermarket and a hair stylist.
FBI spokeswoman Patty Hartman said that more than one officer has been shot but could not give any other information.
“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,“ Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said. “I have every confidence in our law enforcement professionals to ensure the safety of the community and resolve this situation.”
Phones rang unanswered at several businesses in the area.
Loud volleys of gunfire could be heard at regular intervals but subsided around 2 p.m. in the city, which is just across the Hudson River from Manhattan.
Dozens of bystanders pressed against the police barrier to film the action on cellphones, some whooping when gunfire bursts filled the air.
Andy Patel works at a liquor store about three blocks away from the site of the shooting site and said there had been consistent gunfire fire about an hour Tuesday afternoon.
“I can hear the gunshots. It’s like firecrackers going off. They were shooting like crazy about an hour ago. Then it stopped for like 20 or 30 minutes. The cops were clearing everyone off the streets,” said Patel.
Jersey City Police said they had no information to provide over the phone on the shooting.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was responding. The New York Police Department sent emergency services personnel, and the forces counterterrorism unit was monitoring the situation.
Get more of the Star in your inbox
Never miss the latest news from the Star. Sign up for our newsletters to get today's top stories, your favourite columnists and lots more in your inboxSign Up Now