UPDATE 4-U.S. officials do not view New Jersey Jewish grocery attack as act of terrorism -source
This week's deadly attack on a New Jersey kosher grocery store does not appear to be an act of organized terrorism in the eyes of U.S. federal investigators, a law enforcement source said on Wednesday. Six people, including the two shooters, three civilians, and a police officer, died in a series of events that ended in a police shootout on Tuesday in Jersey City, New Jersey. Authorities are still in the early stages of investigating what set off the shooting.
The four-hour gun battle at the Jewish JC Kosher Supermarket erupted after the pair shot the police officer at a nearby cemetery and then fled in a white van. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop told reporters the attacker targeted the grocery. Fulop ordered police to be on high alert to protect Jewish neighborhoods following the attack.
But the federal law enforcement source said investigators believe mental illness and drug use may have been the primary factors in the attack. He said investigators now view an anti-Semitic message posted online as a secondary factor. Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea told a morning news conference: "With the amount of ammunition they had, we have to assume they would have continued attacking human beings if we hadn't been there."
He did not comment on why the grocery was targeted but said the shooters appeared to choose it rather than other people or locations on the street. Police declined to release the names or genders of the shooters, but the federal law enforcement source said both were black. Two of the civilian victims were identified as Moshe Deutsch of Brooklyn, the son of a well-known community leader in the Williamsburg section, and Leah Ferencz, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. The New York Times reported Ferencz ran the kosher grocery store with her husband.
"There is a crisis of anti-Semitism gripping this nation," de Blasio told a news conference as he announced a new police unit focused on identifying signs of racially and ethnically motivated extremism. Some local media reported the initial confrontation between the suspects and police near the Jersey City cemetery, about a mile away from the supermarket, was linked to a previous homicide investigation.
The dead police officer was shot at the cemetery shortly before the shootout around the grocery began. "We are deeply shocked and saddened by the antisemitic attack in #JerseyCity yesterday," the Israeli embassy in Washington said on Twitter.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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