Jersey City Shootout

Hate Against Jewish People, Police Fueled Jersey City Attack: NJ AG

Suspects David Anderson and Francine Graham targeted Jewish and law enforcement communities out of hate, the state's attorney general says -- and he declared the crime an act of domestic terror

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What to Know

  • One detective and three civilians were killed during a targeted shootout and standoff at a Jersey City kosher market Tuesday
  • Jarring surveillance video clearly shows the deli was targeted; both rifle-wielding suspects calmly got out of a U-Haul and immediately started firing at the market, bypassing people on the street
  • Two suspects, David Anderson and Francine Graham, were found dead inside the market

Hate-fueled domestic terrorism motivated the harrowing and prolonged shooting attack that killed three people inside a Jersey City kosher market and took the life of a veteran police detective earlier this week, New Jersey's top prosecutor said Thursday.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who a day earlier outlined a timeline for what has been called a targeted attack on the JC Kosher Supermarket, said suspects David Anderson and Francine Graham went there armed with rifles for a single purpose: They were bent on taking out Jewish people — and members of law enforcement.

Officials have said they believe the two attackers, found dead in the store in the bloodshed's aftermath, identified themselves in the past as Black Hebrew Israelites, a movement whose members have been known to rail against white people and Jews. Grewal said authorities have not established a formal link between the pair and the group.

Authorities have found social media postings from Anderson that were anti-police and had anti-Jewish elements, law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case previously told News 4. Grewal said Thursday investigators are still working to corroborate the messages were posted by Anderson and reflected his views, but at this point, he and others felt comfortable revealing the preliminary motive.

Still under investigation: How Anderson and Graham selected the supermarket and Det. Joseph Seals as their targets. Grewal said Thursday that authorities believe the two were working alone.

Five firearms to date have been linked to the duo. Four — an AR-15 style weapon, a shotgun, a semiautomatic firearm and a Glock — were recovered from inside the kosher market. A fifth — a weapon with a homemade silencer and a homemade device to catch shell casings — was discovered in the U-Haul they drove to the market. That van was outfitted with ballistic panels; it also had a crudely made pipe bomb inside.

Investigators have been able to track two of the five weapons thus far via their serial numbers. Both, Grewal said, were purchased by Graham at separate gun shops in Ohio in the spring of 2018.

The investigation into the shootout and the suspects is being led by federal authorities, and conducted by a joint coalition of law enforcement entities.

The attackers, 47-year-old Anderson and 50-year-old Graham, are also prime suspects in the slaying of a livery driver found dead in a car trunk in nearby Bayonne over the weekend, Grewal said. Investigators are incorporating that fact into their overall probe, but it's not clear if there is a connection between the Bayonne death and the others.

A fourth bystander was shot at the store when the attackers burst in, but escaped, Grewal said. His name was not released, but Grewal said Anderson and Graham were seen continuing to shoot at him as he fled the store and ran down the street, incredibly managing to get out with his life. The shooters then immediately turned their attention to law enforcement officers responding to the scene, again ignoring other bystanders who Grewal says weren't targets of their apparent hate.

Anderson and Graham were killed in the hail of bullets. NBC New York was told that the pair were also crushed by an armored car that rammed into the storefront, breaking several of their bones.

Now, communities from Jersey City to Brooklyn to the nation of Israel continue to grieve their losses -- as law enforcement colleagues of Seals, who was also a father of five, mourn theirs.

Two of the victims at the store were identified by members of the Orthodox Jewish community as Mindel Ferencz, 31, who with her husband owned the grocery, and 24-year-old Moshe Deutsch, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was shopping there. Authorities identified the third victim as store employee Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, 49.

Members of New York's ultra-orthodox Jewish community gathered Wednesday night for funerals for Ferencz and Deutsch.

The prospect of attacks against Jews weighed heavily on the more than 300 people who attended a vigil Wednesday night at a synagogue about a mile from where the shootings took place.

In the deadliest such attack in U.S. history, 11 people were killed in an October 2018 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Last April, a gunman opened fire at a synagogue north of San Diego, killing a woman and wounding a rabbi and two others.

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