Multiple people were killed on Tuesday after a shooting in the US state of New Jersey led to a firefight with dozens of law enforcement officers, officials said.

One officer was pronounced dead at a hospital and multiple other people were found dead at the scene, Mayor Steven Fulop said without indicating how many were killed during the shooting in Jersey City.

Hudson Country Prosecutor Esther Surarez said in a tweet that at least three people were wounded. They remained in stable condition, Surarez said. 

Authorities said they believe the bloodshed was not an act of terrorism, but it was still under investigation.

Officials gave no immediate details on what set off the shooting and how it unfolded, and there was no word on how many suspects were involved or whether anyone had been taken into custody.

Earlier on Tuesday, law enforcement officials said they were responding to an “active shooter” situation after sporadic, heavy gunfire rang out over the course of at least an hour in a Jersey City neighbourhood.

Local media reported that two people had opened fire near a convenience store in the area. 

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New York City Police officers on the scene of a shooting in Jersey City, New Jersey [Seth Wenig/AP photo]

In a tweet, Governor Phil Murphy said that residents, among them children from the Sacred Heart elementary school were placed on lockdown. 

All staff and students were safe, according to a statement by the Archdiocese of Newark.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women of the Jersey City Police Department, especially with the officers shot during the standoff, and with the residents and schoolchildren currently under lockdown,” Murphy tweeted. 

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting and was monitoring it.

Loud volleys of gunfire could be heard at regular intervals but subsided around 2pm (19:00 GMT) in the city, which is just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, New York. 

Video images showed a line of police officers armed with weapons pointed in several directions walking down the sidewalk.

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Law enforcement officers at the scene of shooting in Jersey City, New Jersey [Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP photo] 

Andy Patel, who works at a liquor store about three blocks away from the site of the shooting, said there had been consistent gunfire fire for about an hour on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s like firecrackers going off. They were shooting like crazy … The cops were clearing everyone off the streets,” Patel told the Associated Press.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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