NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The two people who stormed a kosher grocery in Jersey City and killed three people planned an assault for some time and were involved in another shooting of a Jewish person a week earlier, authorities said Monday.
State and federal law enforcement officials revealed details about the months leading up to the shootings by David Anderson and Francine Graham, a couple who expressed hatred of Jews and law enforcement in notes left at the grocery shooting scene and in online posts.
Anderson, 47, and Graham, 50, shot and killed Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals in a chance meeting in a cemetery Dec. 10, then drove to the market and killed Mindel Ferencz, 31, who owned the grocery with her husband; Moshe Deutsch, 24, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was shopping there; and store employee Douglas Miguel Rodriguez.
Rodriguez held the back door open for a wounded customer to escape before he was shot, authorities said Monday.
Barricaded in the store, Anderson and Graham were killed after a lengthy gun battle with the police that sent the sound of gunfire booming for hours through the neighborhood in New Jersey’s second-largest city, across the street from a school.
A gun recovered at the kosher grocery that was used by Anderson and Graham to kill a livery car driver in neighboring Bayonne a few days before the market shootings was also used earlier to shoot out the windows of a car driven by a Hasidic man near Jersey City, the investigation revealed.
That shooting wasn’t reported until investigators began probing the the market shootings.
“Up until the attack, there wasn’t anything that would have put either of them on anybody’s radar,” said Gregory Ehrie, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark division.
But surveillance video showed Anderson and Graham had driven past the market in their rented U-Haul van twice in the week leading up to the shootings. U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Monday.
At the scene, a note found on Anderson contained a reference to a 1990s documentary, “The FBI’s War on Black America,” which explored the FBI’s targeting of individuals involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Carpenito said. He added that a timestamp written on the note corresponded to a segment in the documentary where an interviewee advocates killing “fascist pig cops.”
Anderson’s social media posts included a reference to Jews as “imposters who inhabited synagogues of Satan,” Carpenito said.
“This was a senseless and cowardly act,” Carpenito said.
Investigators found a bomb inside the van after the market shootings filled with shrapnel and materials that could have easily built another bomb. Both Anderson and Graham were wearing tactical gear when their bodies were found.