- Authorities believe the kosher supermarket was targeted based on video camera footage
- Officials will be meeting with members of the Jewish community today
- The investigation is still ongoing
The situation began Tuesday afternoon when officers approached two men at a cemetery. The suspects then opened fire, killing Detective Joseph Seals. The gunmen fled the scene in a stolen truck and ended up at a Jewish kosher grocery store about a mile away.
They barricaded themselves and several bystanders inside and began shooting out of the store with law enforcement returning gunfire. The stand-off continued for hours, prompting all city schools to be placed on lockdown. Law enforcement eventually sent a robot into the store to inspect the scene. The bodies of the two suspects and three civilians were then discovered.
“It’s a tough day for the Jersey City Police Department, you know, these people work tirelessly in very, very tough conditions,” said Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulp.
Three officers and one civilian were also injured, but are expected to survive. Meanwhile, the police department is honoring the life of Detective Joseph Seals who was a 15 year veteran of the force, a husband and a father of five.
“We’re going to notify the family, but he’s one of our best police officers and it’s a tough day for Jersey City Police Department,” the mayor told reporters.
The shooting was reportedly motivated by anti-Semitic sentiments. The suspects have been identified as David Anderson and Francine Graham, who were both members of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement. The pair were killed in the standoff with police after they fatally shot three civilians inside the grocery store.
Officials stated they discovered religious writings in the stolen U-Haul used in the shooting as well as anti-Jewish and anti-police remarks posted online by one of the suspects.
According to reports, 22-year old Moshe Deutsch, 33-year-old Leah Mindel Ferencz, and an unidentified delivery worker were among the civilians killed. An extensive investigation is now underway with authorities inspecting the stolen U-haul, cemetery, and grocery store for any evidence about what led to such a violent day on the streets of Jersey City.