The two people who fatally shot a police detective in a cemetery in Jersey City, New Jersey, on Tuesday before opening fire on a kosher market nearby were motivated by a hatred of Jewish people and law enforcement, officials said.
The FBI is investigating Tuesday’s attack, which left six people dead, as domestic terrorism with a hate crime component, FBI Special Agent in Charge Gregory Ehrie said at a press conference Thursday.
Police said David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, fatally shot Jersey City police Detective Joseph Seals at Bay View Cemetery before driving to a Jewish market about a mile away and opening fire, killing three bystanders inside.
A fourth bystander, who has not been publicly identified by officials, was also inside the store when the gunfire began and was able to escape despite being wounded.
After an hours-long shootout that kept about a dozen area schools in lockdown for most of the afternoon, police used an armored vehicle to get inside the market, where they found the two shooters dead, officials said.
The suspects showed a clear bias against Jewish people and law enforcement, though investigators are still working to determine why they targeted Seals and that specific market.
“The cowards that took down those innocent victims engaged only the folks in that store and in the law enforcement community,” U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Craig Carpenito said at Thursday’s press conference. “We don’t know why and that’s where we are now.”
Investigators recovered several hundred shell casings and four firearms inside the market, including an AR-15-style gun believed to have been used by Anderson, a shotgun believed to have been used by Graham and two other guns. They also found a firearm outfitted with a homemade silencer inside the U-Haul van the shooters drove to the market.
What we know at this point is that they had a tremendous amount of firepower. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal
The van also contained a live pipe bomb and was outfitted with ballistic panels, officials said. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal confirmed the shooters left a note inside the van, but rejected media reports that described it as a “manifesto.”
“What we know at this point is that they had a tremendous amount of firepower,” Grewal said at the press conference Thursday. He declined to comment on whether the shooters intended to attack additional locations.
Evidence has surfaced that both shooters had expressed interest in the Black Hebrew Israelites, but investigators have not established a formal link to the group, Grewal said.
Black Hebrew Israelites are groups of Black Americans who claim to be direct descendants of the ancient Israelites. Various sects exist within the movement, with some offshoots holding anti-Semitic views. It has no connection to mainstream Judaism.
Investigators believe the shooters acted on their own, Grewal said.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop on Wednesday were two of the first officials to publicly describe the shooting as an anti-Semitic hate crime.
“I’m just glad that we’re all here in the same place calling it what it is ― that’s the only thing that’s important,” Fulop tweeted on Thursday about Grewal’s classification of the attack.
The three bystanders killed in the shooting were Mindy Ferenz, the 32-year-old wife of the market’s owner and mother of three; Moshe Deutsch, a 24-year-old rabbinical student; and Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, a 49-year-old father who was believed to have worked at the market.
“No community should go through this,” Fulop tweeted after attending Ferenz’s funeral on Wednesday night. “No family should be torn apart like this.”