Schools in parts of Jersey City, the state’s second-largest city, were on lockdown.
Multiple police officers were wounded on Tuesday afternoon during a wild shootout and standoff in New Jersey, prompting a lock down at schools from miles around, authorities said.
According to a preliminary investigation, a police officer was shot in the head and was listed in critical condition, a senior law enforcement official told NBC News, and at least one suspect was holed up in a local store.
“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,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.
“I have every confidence in our law enforcement professionals to ensure the safety of the community and resolve this situation. Today reminds us of their bravery and the sacrifices they, and their families, make for our communities.”
SWAT officers and first responders rushed to the neighborhood near Martin Luther King Drive and Bidwell Avenue, about 8 miles southwest of Midtown Manhattan in New York City. News footage from the scene also showed that first responders included Hatzalah paramedics, who serve the orthodox Jewish community.
All schools schools in Jersey City were put on lockdown, while campuses in nearby Bayonne were under a “shelter in place” order as a precaution, officials said.
“All students and staff are safe however a number of schools are currently on” lockdown, the Jersey City School District tweeted at 1:30 p.m.
SWAT teams with Jersey City and state police were among those responding Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Newark and the FBI were also on the scene.
“I can hear the gunshots. It’s like firecrackers going off,” said Andy Patel, who works at a liquor store about three blocks away from the scene.
“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.”