Archive for April 30, 2011

2 suspects in custody after Holland Tunnel shooting, traffic jams

Posted in 1 on April 30, 2011 by bobbybounce

JERSEY CITY — Two suspects were in custody tonight after gunfire erupted in the Holland Tunnel, snarling traffic throughout the region for hours, affecting thousands of travelers.

The rush-hour incident forced the closure of the tunnel for several hours, causing a traffic backup that led to lane closings and detours on major highways in the Hudson County area.

One suspect was shot, while two Port Authority police officers were not injured but were taken to a hospital for observation, officials said at a press conference. The suspects were not identified and charges are expected to be filed.

The incident unfolded at 6:10 p.m. after two Port Authority police officers stopped a Jeep vehicle just inside the tunnel toll plaza in Jersey City, said Michael Fedorko, superintendent of the Port Authority Police Department. Fedorko spoke at a press conference just blocks from the incident along with Bill Baroni, the deputy executive director of the Port Authority.

Four shots were fired by the officers, officials said, but they officials could not say why the Jeep had been stopped or why the shooting started. “That’s sketchy at this point,” Fedorko said.

There was no indication that either of the passengers in the Jeep had weapons, Fedorko said.

Neither rider in the Jeep was hit in this burst of gunfire and they then drove into the tunnel, officials said.

The officers pursued through heavy rush-hour traffic and into the tunnel, where they managed to stop the vehicle, Fedorko said.

Jessica Calefati/The Star-LedgerCars heading into New York at the Holland Tunnel were at a standstill in Jersey City Friday night after police closed the eastbound side of the tunnel.
At some point another shot was fired by an officer, hitting one suspect in the arm, Fedorko said, not saying why this shot was fired.

The wounded suspect then got out of the Jeep and jumped into the backseat of a nearby vehicle, where he was apprehended, Fedorko said.

It was not clear if the shooting took place on the New Jersey or New York side of the tunnel. Neither officer was injured, officials said.

The eastbound lanes of the tunnel into Lower Manhattan were immediately shut down, quickly bringing traffic throughout the region to a standstill and leading to miles-long backups and delays on highways such as the New Jersey Turnpike, Routes 1 & 9 and the Pulaski Skyway.

Eventually, westbound lanes heading out of the city toward New Jersey backed up, according to the state Department of Transportation website.

Stuck in traffic were Marilyn and Ed Reyes, both 30, of Belleville, who had set out at 6 p.m. to meet friends in Manhattan and only found out about the tunnel closing on the radio.

Asked whether their plans for the evening had been ruined, Ed Reyes said: “Completely.”

Jose Rendon, an employee at Newark Penn Station, said he found early success trying to navigate toward his home in the Bronx, opting for the Routes 1 & 9 truck route, rather than the Turnpike Extension, but ultimately was trapped in traffic on local streets.

The 1.6-mile-long tunnel, which opened in 1927, handles an average of 48,000 vehicles a day.