Fears mount that shoot­ing was an­tiSemitic at­tack

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By David Porter and Jim Mus­tian

JERSEY CITY, N.J. >> Fears that a deadly shoot­ing at a Jewish mar­ket in Jersey City was an anti-Semitic at­tack mounted on Wed­nes­day as au­thor­i­ties re­counted how a man and woman de­lib­er­ately pulled up to the place in a stolen rental van with at least one ri­fle and got out fir­ing.

A day af­ter the gun­bat­tle and stand­off that left six peo­ple dead — the two killers, a po­lice of­fi­cer and three peo­ple who had been in­side the store — state and fed­eral law en­force­ment of­fi­cials warned they have not es­tab­lished the mo­tive for the at­tack.

“The why and the ide­ol­ogy and the mo­ti­va­tion — that’s what we’re in­ves­ti­gat­ing,” New Jersey At­tor­ney Gen­eral Gur­bir Gre­wal said, adding that au­thor­i­ties are also try­ing to de­ter­mine if any­one else was in­volved.

But 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.

Also, in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve the two dead at­tack­ers — who were be­lieved to be a cou­ple — iden­ti­fied them­selves in the past as Black He­brew Is­raelites, a move­ment whose mem­bers have been known to rail against whites and Jews, ac­cord­ing to a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial who was briefed on the mat­ter but was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the case pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

In ad­di­tion, au­thor­i­ties have found so­cial me­dia post­ings from at least one of the killers that were anti-po­lice and anti-Jewish, the of­fi­cial said. 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, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial.

The killers were iden­ti­fied as David N. An­der­son, 47, and Francine Gra­ham, 50 — both of them 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.

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, 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 Miguel Dou­glas, 49.

“The re­port from the Jersey City mayor say­ing it was a tar­geted at­tack makes us in­cred­i­bly con­cerned in the Jewish com­mu­nity,” said Evan Bern­stein, re­gional di­rec­tor of the Anti-Defama­tion League, the Jewish civil rights or­ga­ni­za­tion. “They want an­swers. They de­mand an­swers. If this was truly a tar­geted killing of Jews, then we need to know that right away, and there needs to be the push­ing back on this at the high­est lev­els pos­si­ble.”

The blood­shed in the city of 270,000 peo­ple across the Hud­son River from New York City be­gan at a grave­yard, where De­tec­tive Joseph Seals, a 40-year-old mem­ber of a unit de­voted to tak­ing il­le­gal weapons off the street, was gunned down by the as­sailants, au­thor­i­ties said. They then drove the van about a mile to the kosher mar­ket.

Gre­wal said that within sec­onds of pulling up to the mar­ket, An­der­son got out with a ri­fle and im­me­di­ately be­gan shoot­ing, and Gra­ham fol­lowed him into the store. He would not say whether Gra­ham had a weapon.

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

Jersey City’s mayor said it was clear that the killers de­lib­er­ately made their way to­ward the kosher mar­ket, pass­ing many other pos­si­ble tar­gets along the way, and calmly and promptly opened fire.

“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,” he 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 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.

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

Chabad Rabbi Moshe Schapiro said he spoke with the sur­vivor at a hos­pi­tal. “He said the guy next to him fell to the ground,” Schapiro said. “He suf­fered two gun­shot wounds but man­aged to run out of the store and climb over fences.”

In the dead­li­est at­tack on Jews in U.S. history, 11 peo­ple were killed in an Oc­to­ber 2018 shoot­ing at a syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh. Last April, a gun­man opened fire at a syn­a­gogue north of San Diego, killing a woman and wound­ing a rabbi and two oth­ers.

The kosher gro­cery is a cen­tral fix­ture in a grow­ing com­mu­nity of Ortho­dox Jews who have been mov­ing to Jersey City in re­cent years and set­tling in what was a mostly black sec­tion of Jersey City, caus­ing some re­sent­ment.


Re­spon­ders work to clean up the scene of Tues­day’s shoot­ing that left mul­ti­ple peo­ple dead at a kosher mar­ket on Wed­nes­day in Jersey City, N.J.

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