JERSEY CITY, NJ- Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said he believes the shooters in Tuesday’s attack were clearly targeting the children at the yeshiva (Orthodox Jewish elementary school) attached to the kosher supermarket, citing footage of the shooting.
If he is correct, and had it played out, the carbon copy of the shooting that killed 26 people in Newtown, Connecticut 7 years ago, Anderson and Graham would have presumably ended the life of many children before they had a chance to actually start living. It could have been exponentially more deadly. And it might have come on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre.
Fulop said it was “easy to conclude” the shooters’ intentions were not just to shoot at those in the deli but to continue to the adjacent school — which contained 50 students, according to Fulop — given that footage and the number of weapons the two shooters possessed.
“It is pretty apparent that he goes to the adjacent door first and then turns. Secondly, it is pretty apparent from the amount of firepower and weapons he brought to that location,” Fulop said. “Clearly he had intentions of doing more damage than just murdering three people in a deli.”
Five firearms were recovered including an AR-15, a Luger, a Glock, and a shotgun. Investigators also found an undetonated pipe bomb.
Fulop, a Democrat first elected Jersey City’s mayor in 2013, has aggressively labeled the shooting as an anti-Semitic attack since Tuesday night, despite law enforcement’s assertion that it was too early to tell.
The mayor has cited his own Jewish heritage and his family’s history — his mother is the daughter of Holocaust survivors — when discussing why he decided to highlight the apparent anti-Semitic nature of Tuesday’s assault even as others, including state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, declined to assign a motive.
At a news conference on Thursday, Grewal said that after collecting evidence it became clear that the two heavily armed shooters “held views that reflected hatred of Jewish people and law enforcement.”
“The evidence points towards an act of hate,” Grewal said.
The FBI Newark Office is now leading the investigation. They said Fulop was free to speculate but that the bureau’s protocol is to wait until it has sufficient evidence to determine a motive.
“Every member of the public is free to speculate when a tragedy like this occurs. The FBI seeks out facts and methodically reviews evidence before drawing any conclusions,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie.
Fulop said that that he was “not bound” by the investigation and vowed to be transparent with the public.
“We will never know with 100% certainty as they are deceased but based on those facts it is pretty easy to conclude,” Fulop continued.
Parts of Fulop’s public statements about Tuesday’s events were eventually agreed upon by law enforcement, who have said that they now believe that the intended target was the school.
While details about the incident are still being pieced together, officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have called the shooting in Jersey City an act of domestic terrorism and a hate crime.
After reviewing video footage, officials said on Thursday that they clearly believe that the attack was deliberate and that the suspects clearly targeted the store because it was Jewish.
In a rare moment of candor, Attorney General Grewal said that if not for the actions the Jersey City police officers this could have been a much larger situation. Grewal, however, declined to comment on what the larger target may have been but did announce that the cache of weapons and the pipe bomb were clearly intended for some use.
The eventual plans of the attackers were thwarted, many have said, by two Jersey City Police patrol officers who showed up quickly after the shooting started.
“I’m just glad we are all here at this point calling it was it is,” Fulop said in a tweet.
He also made a public statement.
“That’s the only thing that is important because every day that we didn’t label it as hate we do a disservice to Judaism and those fighting hatred as it dismisses the impact of identifying it. While the world is watching, it is important to point out hate quickly and aggressively.”
Authorities have speculated that the assailants initiated their attack sooner than planned due to a confrontation with Jersey City police detective Joseph Seals.
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Seals ultimately gave his life that day, potentially saving numerous lives by thwarting a much more sinister plan than people first imagined.
But his heroics didn’t stop a local newspaper from attacking him hours after his death.
Detective Seals leaves behind a wife and five children. One of those children is a newborn baby. He will be remembered by the department for getting illegal guns off the streets over his 15-year career.
A few hours after he was murdered, NJ.com decided to write an article about his career.
Now if you aren’t paying attention, it comes across as a tribute to a fallen hero. Except it’s not.
The purpose of the article was to promote their discredited report on “use of force.”
It was a report that even the police-bashing New Jersey Attorney General came out against, because it ranked cops and departments on how often they used force but didn’t account for the reasons WHY the cops were using force.
The article ended by basically saying the murdered officer was a violent one.
Let’s talk for a second about how these cop-haters work. They tend to manipulate data to make those who wear blue look bad… even when the officer did nothing to warrant the attack.
And so I have a simple question for Teri West, the author of this article. Would you have the spine to stand face to face with the widow of Detective Seals and tell her you believe her murdered husband was a violent cop?
Would you have the courage to look her in the eye and tell her that he was a bad person because there were situations where he was attacked and had to use force when taking violent felons off the streets, Teri?
Could you put down your laptop and say to the children who will never see their dad again that when he was alive and taking illegal guns from the hands of gang-bangers, that he should have been nicer to them when they attacked him?
Of course you wouldn’t. The reason why you sit behind a computer, feverishly pecking away trying to make a murdered officer look bad is because you don’t have the courage to put your own life on the line every day to protect others.
Let me give you a taste of what you would have written if you had any integrity:
Today, we lost another brave warrior. Detective Joseph Seals was murdered trying to keep people safe. He had a 15 year history of trying to take violent felons, gang bangers and drug runners off the street. Ultimately he was brutally gunned down while trying to make New Jersey a safer place.
A safer place for people like his beautiful wife and five children, who will never be able to wrap their little arms around the neck of their daddy again.
A safer place for his newborn child, who will never again experience the gentle kiss of a brave warrior on their innocent cheek.
A safer place for his wife, who now faces a lifetime of pain because of the unspeakable loss she just experienced.
Today, I want to offer an apology to police officers across the country.
I’m so sorry that you are targeted, attacked and killed for being protectors of the innocent among us.
I’m sorry that putting on that uniform and being a protector has somehow apparently turned you into a bad guy.
I’m sorry that after pulling people over for driving like idiots, you now have to address them AND the Facebook Live they’ve decided to broadcast you on.
I’m sorry about the disrespect. I remember when parents taught kids to respect the law. Then again, I remember when kids respected their parents as well.
I remember when wearing a badge made you admired. Now it makes you a target. I’m sorry.
I’m so sorry that you once were able to go into work and only have to worry about going home safe to your family … and now you have to worry that people will attack your families while you’re at work.
I’m sorry that social media now convicts you in the court of public opinion for simply doing your job, thanks to a seven-second cell phone clip that’s taken out of context and then replayed millions of times over in the media.
I’m sorry that you have to — even for a second — consider the implications of having to respond quickly and decisively, knowing that even saving a life could mean your career is over.
Internet trolls, keyboard warriors and self-proclaimed SJWs will use this article to talk about how terrible you are. For that, I’m sorry. You don’t deserve that.
I’m sorry that people talk about the American flag as a symbol of oppression, and I’m sorry that it’s not acceptable for you to publicly tell those people to kiss your American butt.
I’m sorry that you have to watch your fellow brothers and sisters take their own lives because of the stress and anxiety of the job … only to see people spit on their graves.
You have bureaucrats who have never stepped foot on your beat now telling you how to do your job and cutting your pay and your benefits and your resources so we can instead use that money for entitlement programs for people who don’t want to work for a living that you spend every day trying to save from themselves. I’m so sorry.
I’m sorry that you have idiots like the Governor of Connecticut who thank you for your service by cutting your jobs because he’s more concerned about giving raises to his friends then trying to actually balance a budget and keep the state safe.
I’m ashamed that we have people like the Mayor of New York who are more concerned with protesting President Donald Trump than he is concerned about honoring a murdered officer. I’m sick about it and I’m so sorry.
Everyone has an opinion over how you should do your job. How you should respond in a life-or-death situation. How you should or shouldn’t respond to a guy high on PCP beating his wife, a maniac wielding a knife, or a threat to other Americans. Thanks for your opinions, people. Perhaps keep them to yourselves and focus on finishing up that green tea latte and getting back to the classifieds. Officers — I’m sorry about them.
I’m sorry that you’re used as pawns … play pieces that can balance budgets and receive accolades when the lawmakers who use you need some positive PR from the media.
I’m sorry that you’re attacked for not being able to solve cold cases by the same people who, when being interviewed, will tell you “I didn’t see nothin’.” Why? Because it’s not cool to “be a snitch” — even when you can save the life of children or friends or family. But, you know, screw the police.
I’m sorry that when people show their faith in you and their appreciation for you that it somehow brings out the worst in people.
I’m sorry that when you’re wearing your uniform and walk past a kid, that kid’s mom or dad will tell their child “watch out or that cop will arrest you.” I’m sorry they create such fear that their child will run into the arms of a child molester or a murderer instead of a protector in blue. And I’m sorry that the parents are so focused teaching hate that they forget to teach their child the difference between right and wrong.
That, Terri. That is what you would have written if you had a shred of integrity. Instead, you’re probably focused on what kind of article you can drop on the day of this officer’s funeral to further disrespect a warrior who gave his life while trying to protect America.
You should be ashamed.
Editor note: After our original article ran calling out the above author, the newspaper quickly edited their piece to take out many of the references and attacks noted above.
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