New Jersey officials are now confident the shooters who opened fire in a kosher market Tuesday and left multiple dead were motivated by “hatred of the Jewish people, as well as hatred of law enforcement.”
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, the state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said they’re investigating the shooting at the JC Kosher Supermarket in Jersey City as an act of domestic terrorism.
Grewal formally identified the suspects as David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, and said that investigators had found evidence linking the pair to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a sprawling network of overlapping sects and theologies that has a black supremacist wing. The pair were killed in a gun battle with police that went on for hours after the suspects barricaded themselves in the store.
“Both suspects expressed interest in this group, but we have not definitively established any formal links to that organization or any other group based on available evidence,” Grewal said. Investigators are also still combing through social media accounts, that they believe were “used by the suspects and purport to espouse certain viewpoints.”
Five guns were recovered from the scene in total. Four were found inside the deli, including an AR-style rifle. The fifth, a .22-caliber Ruger Mark 4 equipped with a homemade silencer, was discovered in a stolen U-Haul van that the suspects had parked outside. Investigators also discovered a pipe bomb in the van, as well as a brief note that said something along the lines of “I do this because my creator makes me do this, and I hate who He hates,” according to NBC.
Anderson and Graham are also considered prime suspects in the recent murder of a car service driver in Bayonne, six miles from Jersey City. The 34-year-old victim was found beaten to death in the trunk of his Lincoln Town Car.
Tuesday’s shooting upended the growing Orthodox Jewish community in the mostly black neighborhood of Greenville in Jersey City. It started at around 12:30 p.m. in a nearby cemetery, when a police detective approached Anderson and Graham as they were sitting in the U-Haul. Anderson or Graham shot Detective Joseph Seals in the head, killing him, and drove away.
Police said Wednesday that surveillance video showed the pair driving slowly through the Greenville neighborhood before parking outside the market — which is on the same block as a small synagogue — and opening fire on it. After an hourslong, chaotic shootout with police, law enforcement eventually entered the deli where they found five people dead, including the suspects.
Two of the victims found in the market — Moshe Deutsch, 24, and Mindy Ferencz, 31 — were part of the local Hasidic community. Grewal praised the medical examiner for ensuring their burials and autopsies were in keeping with their religious traditions.
The other victim discovered in the store was named as Miguel Rodriguez, 49, who emigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador three years ago.
Cover: Orthodox Jewish men carry the casket with Mindel Ferencz outside a Brooklyn synagogue, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, in New York. Her funeral will be in Jersey City. Ferencz was killed Tuesday in the shooting inside a Jersey City, N.J., food market. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)