One Suspect in Jersey City Carnage Posted Antisemitic Content Online, Officials Say
Two armed individuals targeted a New Jersey kosher grocery in an attack that killed six people including the shooters, public safety officials said on Wednesday.
A police shootout with two people armed with high-powered rifles erupted after midday on Tuesday in Jersey City, New Jersey. The six dead included three civilians, one police officer and both shooters, authorities said.
The four-hour gun battle at the Jewish JC Kosher Supermarket erupted after the pair shot the police officer at a nearby cemetery, which they fled in a white van.
“They exited the van and they proceeded to attack this location in a targeted manner,” Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea told a morning news conference. “With the amount of ammunition they had, we have to assume they would have continued attacking human beings if we hadn’t been there.”
He did not comment on why the grocery was targeted but said the shooters appeared to choose it rather than other people or locations on the street.
An NBC New York report named the shooters as David Anderson and Francine Graham. Anderson was described as a “one-time follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement.”
The New York Times reported that a suspect involved in the shooting had posted antisemitic and anti-police messages online and cited law enforcement officials as saying investigators believed the attack was motivated by those sentiments.
Jersey City officials were not immediately available for comment.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop ordered police to be on high alert to protect Jewish neighborhoods following the attack.
“Due to an excess of caution the community may see additional police resources in the days/weeks ahead,” Fulop wrote. “We have no indication there are any further threat(s).”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that while there was no known specific threat to that city, he had placed city police on high alert to protect Jewish residents.
“Tonight NYPD assets are being deployed to protect key locations in the Jewish community,” he said late Tuesday.
Police had said earlier on Tuesday they believed the kosher grocery was randomly singled out by the shooters.
Some local media reported the initial confrontation between the suspects and police near the Jersey City cemetery, about a mile away from the supermarket, was linked to a previous homicide investigation.
The dead police officer, Joseph Seals, was shot at the cemetery shortly before the shootout around the grocery began.
The civilians who died were identified as Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, and Moshe Hirsch Deutsch, 24 — both members of the local Jewish community — as well as Douglas Rodriguez, a 49-year-old store employee who was an Ecuadorian native.