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Jersey City Shooting: Students, Parents Shaken As They Return To School

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Jersey City public schools had a delayed opening Wednesday, with classes starting at 10 a.m.

Approximately 30,000 students were placed on lockdown during Tuesday's deadly shootout. Fortunately, no students were injured or put in danger.

The Sacred Heart School across the street appeared to be ravaged with bullet holes. Also on the block is a shul that hosts a study hall for Jewish families.

"If we were to be here lunch time, I would've been in it," crossing guard Mae Ganzy told CBS2's Reena Roy. "Just thank god that the bullets didn't hit the kids or the teachers."

Bullet Holes In Windows Of Sacred Heart School In Jersey City
Bullet holes marred the windows of Sacred Heart School in Jersey City, N.J., after police and two suspects had a gunfight on Dec. 10, 2019. (credit: CBS2)

Students were shaken up as they returned to school this morning.

"They tell me that there's some bad people outside and we can't go outside. That's why they didn't let nobody in the classroom or out the classroom," said a kindergartner named Leah. "I felt scared."

"I was scared because we was on a lockdown until nighttime," said fourth grader Mandeiya Mahama.

Parents said they were thankful school officials and the authorities kept their kids safe.

"The police, they really did a good job. They were able to secure the place, able to find the killers and they were able to take them out of the picture. So we're thankful for that." her father, Mohammed Mahama, said.

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Students waited hours for the all-clear to be reunited with their parents. They huddled under desks and lined up along the hallways.

"We were panicking, like what's happening?" sixth grader Sophia Staten told CBS2.

"We're used to gunshots, but nothing like this," said resident Genesis Lorenzo.

Rumors swirled and fear swept through classrooms.

"We were freaking out then, and then the teachers calmed us down with games and let us use our phones," 11-year-old Rachel Cabrera said.

"Everyone was watching videos of what was happening. Everybody was worried, because the SWAT team was coming in," said junior Alexandra Puertos.

City officials made sure to secure the schools as soon as gunfire broke out.

"We were in touch with the Board of Education immediately," Mayor Steve Fulop told reporters. "It was one of the first things that we did. Then, we dealt with an active shooter situation for the better part of four hours."

PHOTO GALLERY: Scenes From Jersey City's Deadly Shootout

As heavily armed officers took over the streets outside, parents tried desperately to contact their kids, communicating with them by text.

"Scary, very terrifying. And I felt hurt that I couldn't get my babies out of school," said one mother.

"I can only imagine they might've even heard the initial shots," father Juan Cabrera said.

After what felt like forever, the students were able to leave around 4:30 p.m. when all was deemed safe.

"Broke into tears with her, because it's my little girl," said Cabrera.

Det. Joseph Seals was killed in the shootout, along with three innocent bystanders and two suspects.


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