January 18, 2020

Authorities Say Jersey City Shooting Suspects Had a Bomb

JERSEY CITY, NJ - DECEMBER 11: Members of the Jewish community pass by near the scene of a mass shooting at the JC Kosher Supermarket on December 11, 2019 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Six people, including a Jersey City police officer and three civilians were killed in a deadly, hours-long gun battle between two armed suspects and police on Tuesday in a standoff and shootout in a Jewish market that appears to have been targeted, according to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Getty Images)

The two suspects behind the Dec. 10 shooting at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, N.J., had a bomb stored in their van during the crime, authorities said.

United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey Craig Carpenito and FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge Gregory Ehrie announced on Jan. 13 that they discovered the bomb in the suspects’ U-Haul van.

The suspects — David Anderson and Francine Graham — reportedly shot and killed Det. John Seals in Bay View Cemetery before driving to the kosher market. Carpenito and Ehrie believe that Seals had approached them because the van was wanted in connection to a separate homicide investigation.

Ehrie said that the bomb in the stolen van was powerful enough to maim people up to five football fields away. He added that the suspects had enough material in the van to build a second bomb.

Anderson and Graham allegedly had been planning the attack for months and cased the kosher market before the shooting, the officials said. Carpenito said that they believe the Seals slaying altered Anderson and Graham’s plans, perhaps preventing them from launching a more widespread attack although they don’t know if Anderson and Graham had any other specific targets in mind.

“This was nothing but a senseless, evil, cowardly act of anti-Semitism and hatred toward not just the Jewish community, but law enforcement,” Carpenito said.

Six people died in the Jersey City shooting, including the two suspects.

According to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism, Anderson had several anti-Semitic social media posts, including a July 2015 Facebook post under the name “Dawad Maccabee” calling Jews “Ashke-Nazis” and “Khazars.” The ADL describes “Khazars” as “a reference to an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that modern Jews are descendants of an Eastern European tribe from the eleventh century.”

The ADL also noted that they found other social media posts from Anderson in 2015 accusing Jews of taking money away from the black community and saying that Jews are part of the “Synagogue of Satan.”

Carpenito and Ehrie said that Anderson and Graham were followers of the Black Hebrew Israelites; the ADL said that some members of the Black Hebrew Israelites are “outspoken anti-Semites and racists.” However, officials have not been able to link Anderson and Graham to any specific organization and believe that the two suspects acted alone.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “We are grateful to law enforcement, especially Detective Joseph Seals, who gave his life preventing more carnage on the Jewish community & more.”