JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Officials confirmed Thursday that hate and anti-Semitisim motivated the shooters in Tuesday’s deadly attack at a Jersey City kosher market that killed a cop and three innocent victims.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said at a news conference that investigators believe the suspected shooters held views that reflected hatred of Jewish people and of law enforcement.
State officials said they have identified a number of social media accounts they believe were used by suspects David Anderson and Francine Graham, and that posts on those accounts support anti-Semitic and anti-law enforcement beliefs. Authorities are working to ensure the authenticity of the social media accounts.
“Based on [evidence] we have collected so far…including recent witness interviews, we believe that the suspects held views that reflected hatred of the Jewish people, as well as a hatred of law enforcement,” Grewal said.
Authorities are still trying to determine how the suspects selected the targets for the attacks, both the market and slain Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals.
Seals reportedly confronted the suspects at a nearby cemetery before the market shootout, as they sat in the U-Haul van that has been linked to an Uber driver’s murder in Bayonne last weekend.
Officials Thursday confirmed Anderson and Graham are both suspects in that case as well, but have not determined any other links between the two incidents.
Grewal said that while both suspects expressed interest in the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, officials have not definitively established any formal links to that organization or any other group, and believe the duo worked alone in the attacks.
Grewal also revealed that five firearms were from the scene; four inside the supermarket and one inside the U-Haul van the shooters parked out front. The FBI said Wednesday that a live pipe bomb was also found in that van.
Grewal said an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was discovered inside the market and officials believe Anderson was firing this rifle as he entered the shop Tuesday.
Authorities also found a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun in the market, which they believe Graham was carrying as they duo moved in.
The two other weapons found inside the shop were a 9mm Ruger semi-automatic firearm and a 9mm Glock 17, Grewal said. The gun recovered from the van was a 22 caliber Ruger Mark IV with a homemade silencer and a homemade device to catch the shell casings, he said.
Using serial numbers, authorities determined Graham purchased the Mossberg shotgun and the 22 caliber Ruger Mark IV at two separate gun shops in Ohio, in the spring of 2018, according to Grewal.
Several-hundred shell casings were also recovered at the scene which are being processed at this time.
Officials believe the suspects shot the three victims within minutes of entering the store and that a fourth civilian escaped while the suspects shot at him as he ran out of the market and across the street.
Within minutes of taking over the store, Anderson and Graham began firing at responding law enforcement that arrived on foot and by patrol car, Grewal said.
Officials said the shooters were, at this point, aiming their fire at law enforcement only and not other people on the street.
The New York Post reported Anderson left behind a handwritten hate-filled note in the van, and while officials confirmed the existence of this note, they were not ready Thursday to speak to its contents.