Officials deem Jersey City shooting act of domestic terrorism

The two killers who stormed a kosher market in Jersey City were driven by hatred of Jews and law enforcement, New Jersey's attorney general said Thursday, adding that the case is being investigated as domestic terrorism.

“The evidence points toward acts of hate. I can confirm that we're investigating this matter as potential acts of domestic terrorism fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs,” he said.

Five firearms were recovered that were linked to the attackers- David Anderson, 47,  and Francine Graham, 50,- including an AR-15-style weapon, shotgun, 9mm semiautomatic, 9mm Glock 17, and .22 caliber Ruger Mark 4 with a silencer, added Grewal.

Four weapons were found in the store and one in the van. A pipebomb was also discovered in the van.

Anderson and Graham had expressed interest in a fringe religious group called the Black Hebrew Israelites, but  there was no evidence that they were members. There were believed to have acted on their own.

Authorities found social media postings from at least one of the killers that were anti-police and anti-Jewish. The FBI on Wednesday searched the Harlem headquarters of the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ, which is the formal name of the Black Hebrew group.

David N. Anderson and Francine Graham

David N. Anderson (left) and Francine Graham (New Jersey Office of the Attorney General)

The gunbattle and standoff left six people dead including the two killers, a police officer and three people who had been inside a Kosher deli.

The Tunnel2Towers organization, formed after Sept. 11 to support police officers killed in the line of duty, said Friday it would pay the mortgage of the detective, who left behind a wife and five children. 

State and federal law enforcement officials warned they have not established a motive for the attack.



Mayor Steve Fulop said surveillance video of the attackers made it clear they targeted the kosher market, and he pronounced the bloodshed a hate crime against Jews, as did New York's mayor and governor.

Anderson and Graham were also prime suspects in the slaying of a livery driver found dead in a car trunk in nearby Bayonne over the weekend, Grewal said. Anderson served about four months in prison in New Jersey on weapons charges and was paroled in 2011, authorities said.

Investigators were trying to determine if there was a connection to the Jersey City shooting beyond the suspects.

RELATED: Jersey City shooting suspects also killed man in Bayonne, official says

Two of the victims at the store were identified by members of the Orthodox Jewish community as Mindel Ferencz, 31, who with her husband owned the grocery, and 24-year-old Moshe Deutsch, the son of Brooklyn civic leader Abe Deutsch and a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was shopping there. The Ferencz family had moved to Jersey City from Brooklyn. Authorities identified the third victim as Douglas Miguel “Miguel” Rodriguez, 49.

The livery driver allegedly killed by the pair was identified as Michael Rumberger, 34, of Jersey City.

RELATED:  Crowd at shooting scene yells antisemitic statements

The incident began near Bayview cemetery, where Detective Joseph Seals, a 40-year-old member of a unit devoted to taking illegal guns off the street, was shot and killed by the suspects.

Police believe he tried to question the occupants of the vehicle before the killed him and fled.

Anderson and Graham then drove a stolen rental van over a mile to the kosher market, where Anderson got out with a rifle and immediately began shooting, and Graham followed him into the store. Authoritides did not confirm if Graham had a weapon.

After reviewing CCTV footage, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said it was clear that Anderson and Graham had bypassed other stores and pedestrians and aimed specifically for the deli.


The drawn-out battle with police filled the streets with the sound of high-powered rifle fire and turned the city into what looked like a war zone, with SWAT officers in full tactical gear swarming the neighborhood. The attackers were killed in the shootout with police.

"Our officers were under fire for hours," Jersey City Chief of Police Mike Kelly said.

A fourth bystander was shot at the store when the attackers burst in, but escaped, Grewal said. His name was not released.

A pipe bomb was also found in the van the attackers used, FBI agent Gregory Ehrie said.


Two other police officers were wounded in the gunfire, officials said. They were treated at Jersey City Medical Center and released.  Among them was Newark SWAT Team member Joseph Kerik, son of former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik.

Police were investigating three crime scenes: the cemetery where Seals was shot; the supermarket where the five bodies were found; and the stolen U-Haul truck, which police say the gunmen drove from the cemetery to the supermarket. 

A pipe bomb was discovered in the U-Haul truck that was outiffed with a ballistic panel, said investigators.

"We shouldn’t parse words on whether this is a hate crime at this point. This was a hate crime against Jewish ppl + hate has no place," Mayor Fulop tweeted, adding: "Some will say don’t call it anti-semitism or a hate crime till a longer review but being Jewish myself + the grandson of holocaust survivors I know enough to call it what this is.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio likewise said the attack was a “premeditated, violent, anti-Semitic hate crime,” while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a “deliberate attack on the Jewish community.” They announced tighter police protection of synagogues and other Jewish establishments in New York as a precaution.

The dramatic scene unfolded in an area that has a Catholic school, a few convenience stores, a hairstylist, a synagogue, and a church.

30,000 students were locked down in their schools for hours as the situation unfolded. Jersey City school officials worked on a plan to get students home from school hours after their normal dismissal time. 

Gov. Phil Murphy said that he was "devastated" by the shooting and paid tribute to the detective who died. 


Twitter user Keldy Ortiz posted video with the sounds of rapid gunfire. Bursts of gunfire had been going on for around an hour in the city, just across the river from Manhattan.

Andy Patel works at a liquor store about three blocks away from the site of the shooting  and said there had been consistent gunfire.

"I can hear the gunshots. It's like firecrackers going off. They were shooting like crazy about an hour ago. Then it stopped for like 20 or 30 minutes. The cops were clearing everyone off the streets," said Patel.

MLK Drive was also cleared of any pedestrians. Video from the scene showed officers taking aim from a corner while heavily armed police stood outside a school.


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In another clip posted online, a long stream of armed officers with weapons pointing in several directions walked down a sidewalk.

Authorities also warned that several fake GoFundMe pages have popped up purporting to be raising funds for the family of the slain officer.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its agents responded to the scene to help in the investigation. Several other law enforcement agencies also responded.

The New York Police Department sent emergency services personnel to Jersey City, and its counterterrorism unit was monitoring the situation, although terrorism was not believed to be connected to the situation.

The NJ State Police Benevolent Association asked for prayers for officers in Jersey City. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.