Police Officer, Three Civilians Killed In Jersey City Ambush
AP Photo/Robert Bumsted

A homicide investigation turned into a raging gun battle after suspects allegedly ambushed law enforcement, killing one police officer and wounding two others in a shootout that has also left at least two civilians dead and one other wounded.

NBC New York reports the officer who was ambushed approached two individuals in connection with a homicide. That’s when the officer was shot and killed, and the suspects fled into a nearby bodega.

One law enforcement source said at least one man was holed up in a bodega with a long gun for hours. That man and another suspect are believed to have been injured in the hours-long shootout, a senior official briefed on the matter says. One suspect was believed to still be in the bodega, while another may have tried to escape to a nearby school.

Four other people were thought to be inside the bodega, the senior official said, stressing the highly preliminary nature of the evolving investigation. It wasn’t clear if any of those four were hurt or considered victims or suspects.

NBC News is also reporting that two suspects have been killed by law enforcement, and while authorities haven’t released the name of the officer who was killed in the line of duty, they do say that he was a father of five and a law enforcement veteran with 19-years of service.

Obviously this is a breaking news situation, so it’s possible that some of the details could change as better information emerges from law enforcement on scene.

Governor Phil Murphy weighed in on Twitter, and suprisingly, didn’t immediately launch into calls for more gun control.

That doesn’t mean the governor won’t use this tragedy to push his anti-gun agenda in the very near future, but at least his first tweet was free from any overt calls for gun control.

The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for some of those replying to the governor’s thoughts and prayers.

You think Sarah knows anything about New Jersey’s existing gun laws? I kinda doubt it.

One could ask the same thing about the state’s gun control laws, which treat the right to keep and bear arms as a privilege.

I have news for these folks; tweeting about “stricter gun laws” is even less helpful than thoughts and prayers. New Jersey’s gun laws are some of the most restrictive in the country, requiring a Firearms ID card to legally purchase a firearm as well as a Pistol Purchase Permit, both issued by local law enforcement. A Firearms ID Card is supposed to be issued on a “shall issue” basis, but some jurisdictions still ask questions about the “need” for a firearm.

Concealed carry is almost non-existent in the state, with local law enforcement having the discretion to deny anyone they deem not to have “good cause”. New Jersey has an “assault weapons ban” in place, as well as a one-gun-a-month firearms rationing law, a ban on magazines over ten rounds, and a host of other gun control restrictions.

This is still an unfolding situation as I write this, and there are a lot of unanswered questions. I’m sure before long the state’s anti-gun politicians will begin their calls for more gun control, and will likely push Congress to pass more anti-gun laws while talking up how great the gun control laws are in New Jersey.

In the meantime, there are families grieving tonight, and at least five children are mourning the loss of their dad. I won’t be joining Governor Phil Murphy in his inevitable calls for gun control, but I will second his call to keep those who are grieving in your thoughts and prayers.