Good morning, Bulletin readers. The recent outbreak of active shootings continued yesterday as a deadly gun battle in New Jersey left six dead, terrorized an entire city, and even forced the closing of an interstate exit. That story leads your Wednesday bulletin.
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Six people died in a New Jersey gun battle. The mayhem in Jersey City began yesterday at lunchtime when a pair of murder suspects killed a police officer who tried to intercept them outside a cemetery. The gunmen then drove to a Hasidic neighborhood and barricaded themselves in a kosher grocery store, where they waged an “all-out gun battle” with responding officers. By the time the bullets stopped flying, the suspects and three civilians had been fatally shot; at least three others were wounded. A dozen area schools were locked down during the standoff, and a student at a high school near the scene filmed snipers on an adjacent roof, tweeting: “I’m scared.” The fallen officer, Detective Joseph Seals, was “our leading police officer in removing guns from the street,” the Jersey City police chief said. Seals leaves behind a wife and five children.
NEW from THE TRACE: The Sandy Hook nonprofit fighting shootings by fostering more inclusive schools. Seven years after the Newtown massacre, more than 11,000 American schools have adopted Start With Hello, a student support program designed by Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit formed by parents who lost children in that horrific mass shooting. The goal is to teach students to be more socially inclusive. “Everything we do has a nexus to 2012,” said co-founder and managing director Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son, Daniel, was among the Sandy Hook victims. “We know that the killer was chronically, severely socially isolated.” Experts see benefits to the program’s approach. Contributor Amanda Loudin has the story.
U.S. Navy suspends flight training for more than 300 Saudi nationals. The indefinite “safety stand-down” was announced after a Saudi national in the program killed three people and injured eight others at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida, last Friday. More on the loophole the shooter exploited to acquire his gun: “There seem to be no records, no data, no information about how many people are taking advantage of this federal rule about obtaining these weapons. In the abstract it’s a potential security problem, but of course now we know it’s a real security problem.”
Accidental police shootings are exacerbated by scant firearms training. On Monday, we highlighted the school safety implications of the Associated Press’s sweeping investigation of accidental law enforcement shootings, which found two dozen accidental discharges by police personnel on educational campuses. Those incidents were among the 1,422 unintentional gun discharges by law enforcement that the Associated Press gathered and analyzed. One reason police offers misuse their firearms? “We don’t do enough street training connected to actual skill and decision-making that’s required of officers in this type of encounter,” an expert told the wire service. “Some officers only handle their guns once a year.”
Globally, Generation Z is most worried about climate change — except in America, where violence tops the list. Amnesty International surveyed 10,000 18- to 25-year-olds in 22 countries. In the United States, a plurality the of 500 young people polled said the country’s most pressing issue was not a warming planet, but violent crime, defined as gun violence and knife crime.
The officer killed during a domestic violence call in Houston was hit by at least one bullet that penetrated his bulletproof vest. That revelation is from the Houston Police Department, which said the officer, Sergeant Christopher Brewster, was also hit by bullets in areas not protected by the vest. The police chief said the ammunition and the vest will be examined by experts.
Hundreds marched to end gun violence in Alabama after a 5-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet. Ta’Narius Moore Jr., 5, was killed in the crossfire during a shooting outside a Birmingham apartment complex on Saturday, more than two years after his father was gunned down blocks away. “Why did this have to happen?” the child’s paternal grandmother said during Monday’s march.
At least 46 law enforcement officers across the United States have been struck down by intentional gunfire in the line of duty in 2019. —Officer Down Memorial Page