Jersey City Shooters Identified, Were Prime Suspects in Other Homicide – NBC New York

What to Know

  • One detective and three civilians were killed during a targeted shootout and standoff at a Jersey City kosher market Tuesday, officials say
  • Two other officers and another civilian were hurt but are expected to be OK; the suspects were shot and killed
  • A motive for the shootout remains under investigation, but local authorities said Wednesday video shows the deli was clearly the target

The two people who stormed a kosher grocery store in Jersey City with rifles, killing three people inside and also murdering a veteran detective, have been identified as David Anderson and Francine Graham, four law enforcement sources familiar with the case tell News 4.

A senior law enforcement official says the attack is now being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Who Are Jersey City Shootout Suspects?

Three sources say Anderson was a one-time follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a group whose members believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites and may adhere to both Christian and Judaic beliefs.

There was a note with religious writings in the U-Haul he and Graham allegedly drove to the scene, but a motive — including any alleged nexus to hate or terror remains under active investigation, officials say. Top law enforcement leaders from varying levels of New Jersey government said Wednesday afternoon that a “pipe bomb,” along with multiple other weapons, were recovered at the scene.

Other sources described a crudely made device with black powder and a fuse; they said it wasn’t immediately clear if it was operable. New Jersey law enforcement leaders confirmed Wednesday afternoon Graham and Anderson were the prime suspects in a Bayonne homicide that authorities in Jersey City also had been investigating.

Law enforcement sources had no immediate personal details on Graham, but a neighbor tells News 4 she lived near him for years. The neighbor described Graham as a former home health aide in Manhattan who met Anderson after she got hurt at work and quit; he says Graham turned into a “dark person” after they met.

Getty Images/Handout

The neighbor also claims Graham was coerced into a militant religion he could not identify; chanting and reading of the New Testament, translated into “evil,” could be heard from her home, he said. A year ago, the neighbor says Graham stopped paying her condo fees and left. Jersey City tells News 4 the mortgage was assumed by a bank in November 2018.

Court documents show that Anderson had a criminal record.

New Jersey Department of Corrections records show that Anderson faced weapons offenses in 2004, 2007 and 2011 and spent time in jail.

He also faced a criminal mischief charge in Ohio in 2009, according to court records.

It’s unknown if these are the only prior charges Anderson faced.

Officials also said there were online postings connected to Anderson’s social page with anti-police and anti-Jewish writings. Investigators are looking to see if Anderson himself posted that material.

The new details came shortly after local authorities announced a review of surveillance video clearly showed the market was targeted, though they, along with state and federal investigators, say a precise motive remains under investigation.

They park the van. They exit the van with long guns in their hands. And they immediately begin firing in the location where we lost three of our citizens yesterday.

JAMES SHEA, JERSEY CITY PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR

The footage shows the shooters deliberately bypass other people on the busy street, aiming directly for people inside the kosher deli. Information continues to develop, and while authorities said Tuesday that it appeared the standoff began with the deadly shooting of a police officer at a separate site, Fulop and Shea said Wednesday that the bloodshed began at the market.

“We now know this did not begin with gunfire between police officers and perpetrators and then move to the store,” Shea, the brother of NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, said. “It began with an attack on the civilians inside the store.”

The barrage of gunfire — at least 100 bullets — locked down all Jersey City public schools for hours Tuesday. Some had delayed openings Wednesday in the horror’s aftermath.