Jersey City shooter published anti-Semitic messages, targeted Kosher supermarket

There was a shooting in Jersey City, New Jersey Tuesday which left six people dead including the two suspects and several more wounded. This morning the NY Times is reporting that online messages plus a manifesto they left behind indicate anti-Semitism and anti-police views likely motivated the attack.

An assailant involved in a prolonged firefight in Jersey City, N.J., that left six people dead, including one police officer, had published anti-Semitic and anti-police posts online and investigators believe the attack was motivated by those sentiments, a law enforcement official familiar with the case said on Wednesday.

Investigators also found a manifesto-style note inside the assailants’ van, the law enforcement official and another official familiar with the case said.

The document, which was described as brief and “rambling,” suggested no clear motive for the shooting. Investigators also found a live pipe bomb inside the vehicle, the law enforcement official said.

Police have yet to identify the suspects, but NBC News has published the names and identified one of the suspects as a follower of the Black Hebrew Israelites.

Four law enforcement sources familiar with the case told NBC New York that the suspects were David Anderson and Francine Graham.

According to three sources, Anderson was a one-time follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, whose members believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites and may adhere to both Christian and Judaic beliefs, and his social media pages include anti-police and anti-Jewish writings. Investigators are looking to see if it was Anderson himself who posted that material.

NBC New York spoke to a neighbor of Francine Graham who described a change in her behavior after she met David Anderson:

The neighbor described Graham as a former home health aide in Manhattan who met Anderson after she got hurt at work and quit; he says Graham turned into a “dark person” after they met.

The neighbor also claims Graham was coerced into a militant religion he could not identify; chanting and reading of the New Testament, translated into “evil,” could be heard from her home, he said. A year ago, the neighbor says Graham stopped paying her condo fees and left. Jersey City tells News 4 the mortgage was assumed by a bank in November 2018.

Black Hebrew Israelites were part of another national news story earlier this year. They were the group that was using crude language toward the Covington High School kids in front of the Lincoln Memorial. A video of a stare down between Covington student Nick Sandmann and activist Nathan Phillips went viral and provoked an media firestorm.

The Jersey City incident began when a detective named Joseph Seals was shot by the occupants of a stolen van at a cemetery located a little more than a mile from the market. Law enforcement sources told CNN that they believe Det. Seals was ambushed after he approached the van. He later died from his injuries.

The van containing the suspects moved through the streets, passing numerous other shops and people, and stopped directly in front of the Kosher supermarket. Two suspects exited the van with rifles and immediately began firing into the market. Based on this movement, police concluded the attackers targeted the market. Three civilians were killed and several more were wounded.

Two police officers happened to be on a foot patrol about a block away when the attack began and quickly ran to the scene and engaged the shooters. Both officers were hit by shots fired by the suspects, but both of those officers survived and have since been released from the hospital.

A massive response of other officers built up around the market and a standoff ensued for several hour, with police taking fire from the suspects who had a stockpile of ammunition with them. You can hear what that sounded like in this clip:

Finally, the NY Post has published some information on two of the three civilian victims:

Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, who co-owned the Jersey City Kosher Supermarket in the Greenville neighborhood with her husband, and Moshe Deutsch, 24, a customer at the deli were fatally shot at the deli Tuesday by suspects toting long guns, sources said. A third victim, a store delivery worker, was also shot to death but has not yet been identified.

Just last week, Bari Weiss wrote about the curious lack of public outrage about rising anti-Semitism, including incidents in the New York area. She argued that the media only seemed interested in talking about those stories when the attacker was white and right-wing. Maybe this story will shake up the perception that anti-Semitism is only about white supremacy. But not everyone is confident that’s how this will play out: