Residents and the Jewish community in Jersey City are asking for clarification after the city's mayor tweeted late Tuesday that two gunmen "targeted" the kosher market where they killed three people earlier in the afternoon but did not elaborate.
A New Jersey police officer was among four victims killed in the shootout that brought the city to a standstill. The suspects also died.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted, “Based on our initial investigation (which is ongoing) we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked. Due to an excess of caution the community may see additional police resources in the days/weeks ahead. We have no indication there are any further threats.”
He didn’t clarify, however, if the incident is being investigated as an anti-Semitic hate crime, sparking calls for further explanation.
“what do you mean? That the location the gunmen fled to, the kosher supermarket, was chosen with anti-Semitic intent ... ?" Laura E. Adkins, opinion editor for the Jewish Telegraph Agency, tweeted in response. "That there is an active anti-Semitic hate crime investigation? Something else?”
Another commented that his "non-committal" statement was not helpful. “WHO were the JC shooters, WHAT was their motive, WHERE are they from, WHY did they do what they did, and HOW did this all go down?" they wrote.
New York State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, who represents Brooklyn, also posted about Fulop's statement.
“Mayor @StevenFulop, with all due respect, if you believe that the Jewish community was “TARGETED” you must say it CLEARLY and MAKE SURE your constituents are protected,” Eichenstein tweeted.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that Fulop "has asserted that today’s incident was a deliberate attack targeting the Jewish community."
“Although there is no credible or specific threat directed against New York City, I have directed the NYPD to assume a state of high alert," he wrote. "Tonight, NYPD assets are being redeployed to protect key locations in the Jewish community. Tomorrow, we will announce additional measures.”
The shooting rampage started when the suspects killed veteran Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals in a Jersey City cemetery before they moved to the Jersey City Kosher Supermarket a few blocks away where a shootout with police left three victims and the suspects dead.
“We have been in close contact with the Jewish community in #JerseyCity to help where we can,” Fulop posted earlier in a retweet from Councilman Chaim Deutsch, chair of New York City Council's Jewish caucus.
“While we work through details/investigation of today’s incident I know the entire Jersey City community stands together with the Jewish Community during these challenging times," Fulop wrote.
The shooters were reportedly armed with high-powered rifles.