Pennsylvania – A recent welfare check turned into a full-on firefight yesterday in Nelson, Pennsylvania, where two officers were injured during the exchanged gunfire.
On Tuesday afternoon, a Pennsylvania state trooper was shot and injured in a rural community home near the New York state line, triggering a tense standoff with the barricaded gunman that lasted through the night, authorities said.
At home in Nelson Township, in Tioga County, police were conducting a welfare check when they encountered gunshots, local officials reported. One of the troopers involved in the fray was shot and was airlifted from the scene. According to local authorities, the trooper was conscious and alert despite the injuries sustained.
UPDATE 8:00 PM: The trooper who was shot did not require surgery. He is receiving treatment for his injuries and is in stable condition. https://t.co/5UVJ5s9JlU
— PA State Police (@PAStatePolice) December 11, 2019
When reports first stated coming in regarding the state of the trooper, state police mentioned that the wounded trooper underwent surgery. Yet, later reports stated that the trooper did not require any surgery and was described as being in stable condition.
A second trooper who was present during the standoff had sustained a leg injury. Officials stated that he was treated and released. After the shooting initially kicked off, state police had surrounded the home as the gunman barricaded himself inside for several hours.
The exhaustively long standoff was originally sparked when three troopers had gone to the Nelson Township home after a concerned local who was familiar with the resident of the home called to say the they had been out of touch for several weeks, according to authorities.
When the troopers were dispatched to the residence, they had announced themselves in order to make their presence known. After repeated attempts to signal their arrival without response, they had entered the residence through an unlocked door.
They called out yet again, according to officials, and that’s when a single shot was fired. At that point the troopers retreated from the home and then the standoff was initiated.
The PA State Police Twitter account made mention once one of their officers were struck while conducting the welfare check in a post that stated:
“MEMBER INVOLVED SHOOTING: Patrol members attempted to conduct a welfare check on Barney Hill Rd. in Nelson Township, Tioga Co. at approx. 12:30 when the subject opened fire. One trooper was struck and has been transported by helicopter to receive medical attention.”
Apparently an elementary school that wasn’t far off from where the standoff was taking place stated that it was in lockdown as a result of the shooting. The announcement was also accompanied by a warning, asking people to stay away from the area unless it was an emergency. A high school that was more than ten miles away from the scene had also placed itself on lockdown.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf also took to Twitter to extend his thoughts on the injured officer:
“Fantastic news. I wish him a speedy recovery. On behalf of all Pennsylvanians, thank you to all of our first responders who put themselves in harm’s way each day.”
Attorney General Josh Shapiro shared his thoughts on social media on the then-developing situation, when he tweeted:
“Praying for the injured trooper and his family. To his colleagues at @PAStatePolice and to all our first responders – thank you for all you do for us.”
After the standoff having lasted approximately fourteen hours, it was confirmed that the suspect involved in the shooting was shot and killed by police at 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. At this time, there’s been no details yet revealed regarding the identity of the shooter, or the reasoning as to why the entire standoff occurred in the first place. Furthermore, there’s been no update as to whether the initial welfare check call that was intended for the resident was involved with the shooting or if they were even discovered on the scene.
Around the same time that this was happening, police in Jersey City were engaged in a standoff of their own.
Detective Joseph Seals has been identified as the deceased officer. Five other people were found dead at the scene, including two suspected gunmen, according to the latest update from the New York Times.
A second officer was shot in the shoulder, while two others were injured by shrapnel. A nearby school was put on lockdown during the incident, but everyone is safe, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Newark.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 10, 2019
According to the Hudson County Prosecutors, the incident, described as a “shootout,” lasted for at least an hour along a major road in Jersey City. A number of agencies responded to the scene, including local police, including a SWAT team, state police and federal agents. A spokesman for the A.T.F. said the agency was treating the incident as an “active shooter” situation as of 1:45 p.m. Witnesses in the area described the incident as a “war zone.”
Former NYPD Commissioner and Brothers Before Others member Bernie Kerik spoke with Law Enforcement Today about his police officer son’s role in taking out the armed suspects.
“I could not be more proud of not only my son, but the Jersey City detectives that were with him when they killed the suspects, as well as every first responder involved.”
Kerik’s son Joe is a police officer in Newark and a member of a federal task force, according to sources.
During the gunbattle, Joe Kerik and a number of other officers smashed open the door of the bodega in an armored vehicle and stormed the shop, shooting and killing the suspects inside.
At Jersey City Medical Center with my son Joe… he’s okay by Prayers for the Jersey City Police and their fallen officer. 🙏🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) December 10, 2019
Bernie Kerik asked for prayers during the difficult time for the fallen officer.
“My prayers go out to the family of Detective Joseph Seals,” he said.
The area where the shooting occurred is a commercial district, and beside the school, has stores, a kosher supermarket and a hair stylist. It lies adjacent to a residential district.
Jersey City, New Jersey’s second-largest city, is located just across the Hudson River from New York City.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement, “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. I have every confidence in our law enforcement professionals to ensure the safety of the community and resolve this situation.”
The shooting began at Bay View Cemetery, and then moved to a nearby corner store.
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A steady stream of gunshots could be heard in the vicinity just before 2 p.m. For over an hour, loud exchanges of gunfire could be heard in the Greenville neighborhood of Jersey City. Police and media helicopters circled the scene as police officers filled the streets.
Police fanned out in every direction as they went door to door getting residents and business owners out of harm’s way to safety.
Jersey City resident James Scott said he was nearby when he heard gunfire.
Residents who were cleared from their homes watched from behind a barricade as SWAT officers, bomb squads and heavily armed police officers filled the neighborhood.
“I heard this constant shooting, and it kept going on for about 15 minutes,” said Willy McDonald, age 67. He said that by the time he got outside, there were police everywhere. “There had to be at least 8 of them,” he said.
McDonald continued, “This is one of the biggest gunfights I’ve seen in a while. And I’ve been in Vietnam.”
This is Det Joe Seals who was killed in the line of duty today! He was a husband and father of 5. He is a #Hero and died protecting the citizens of Jersey City! God Bless his family and all of the JCPD members! #JerseyCityShooting @JCPoliceDept pic.twitter.com/pvs62bb0af
— NJ Chiefs of Police (@NJSACOP) December 10, 2019
Exit ramps to and from the New Jersey Turnpike at Exit 14B were closed due to the incident.
The incident began around 12:30 p.m. when a police officer approached one of the gunmen in connection with an investigation related to an earlier homicide. The officer was shot dead according to a source.
The suspects then fled in a truck and ended up at the market, which was a kosher supermarket. Investigators now believe that the store was chosen targeted as it was in a prominently Jewish neighborhood at a kosher store.
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
— Steven Fulop (@StevenFulop) December 11, 2019
Once in the store, the suspects holed up inside and got into a shootout with police. It is unknown when the victims inside the store were killed.
After the incident, more than a dozen police officers stood guard outside the Jersey City Medical Center. Three plainclothes officers hugged a woman who was sobbing as she stood amid the officers.
Retired officer Rob O’Donnell and board member of Brothers Before Others weighed in on the sacrifices made by cops every single day.
“This is what the American police officer does day in and day out to protect themselves, each other, and the communities they serve,” he told LET. “This is what America needs to see, not the false rhetoric and narratives of those wishing to keep us divided.”
Detective Joseph Seals EOW 12/10/2019 of the Jersey City PD is a member of BBO and our hearts are broken. He leaves behind a wife & five children. We have set up a fund at https://t.co/fJiqthMulv via our PayPal: [email protected]
Please put Seals Family in notes. pic.twitter.com/BmouZw2Jxu
— BrothersBeforeOthers (@bboinc14) December 10, 2019
At around 5 p.m., officers saluted outside the emergency room of the hospital as a body covered in a white sheet was carried to a hearse. A small group of Hasidic Jews followed behind.
The area where the incident occurred is primarily a residential area with a diverse population.
This tragically confirms that a growing pattern of violent anti-Semitism has now turned into a crisis for our nation. And now this threat has reached the doorstep of New York City.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) December 11, 2019
LET will continue update this story as additional information becomes available. Meanwhile, we pray for the family of all the deceased, and the Jersey City Police Department who have lost a fellow hero in blue.
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