JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop believes the police response to last week’s shooting was top notch, but there are other areas the city is working to improve.
“We spent a lot of money on active shooter training over the last five years,” Fulop told CBS2’s Alice Gainer in a one-on-one interview. “I’m thankful that we did do that because it coordinates police and fire and EMS, and we practiced and practiced and it was really helpful that day, unfortunately.”
Communication to the community, however, could have been better, Fulop thinks.
“I think on the day of we probably could’ve done a little bit better on communication to some of the parochial schools and some of the schools in the area that weren’t the traditional public schools, and we’ve started to repair how we do that,” he said. “Going forward, I think I just need to build better bridges between some of the different communities, particularly in that part of the city.”
When asked if he meant more outreach, Fulop said, “So we have a chaplain program. They specifically asked to be better integrated into what we do so they have more awareness on some of the things the police department is doing and we’re going to take them up on that, and then I think we’re going to have to do a lot of leader-community meetings and take that initiative.”
The two suspects weren’t necessarily on anyone’s radar, so did something fail somewhere along the way?
“There is no way that these two people would’ve been on anybody’s radar. We had no idea,” Fulop said.
The mayor said last week he believed the two suspects who killed three people in JC Kosher Supermarket were really targeting the adjacent yeshiva with 50 children inside, based on video and the amount of firepower they had with them.
CBS2 learned Monday the two had handcuff keys on them in case they were arrested.
“Keys sewn into their underwear,” Fulop said.
Prior to the supermarket shootout, Graham and Anderson killed Det. Joseph Seals. Seals, we’re told, was meeting with a source in Bay View Cemetery when he spotted the stolen U-Haul van the two were in, which was wanted in connection with a murder days prior in Bayonne.
“His interaction with those two individuals changed the timetable pretty significantly,” Fulop said.
Fulop believes Seals’ actions saved lives, throwing off the initial plans of the two suspects.
He says should anything like this ever happen again, the city will be even better prepared, but he hopes it never does.
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