FBI Will Investigate Anti-Semitic Jersey City Shooting as Domestic Terrorism

Jersey City Director of Public Safety James Shea and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop walk past emergency workers at the scene the day after an hours-long gun battle with two men around a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, December 11, 2019. (Lloyd Mitchell/Reuters)

The FBI will investigate Tuesday’s anti-Semitic shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J. as domestic terrorism, New Jersey attorney general Gurbir Grewal announced Thursday.

“The evidence now points to acts of hate, I can confirm that we are now investigating this as acts of domestic terrorism fueled by anti-semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs,” Grewal said.

The two suspects, David Anderson and Francine Graham, initially killed a New Jersey police officer after the officer began to inspect their van, which was linked to a different murder on Saturday. Anderson and Graham then continued to the market, which is owned by members of a Hassidic Jewish community in the city, killed three people and injured several others, including two police officers who responded to the shooting.

The attack will be investigated as “domestic terrorism with a hate crime bent,” U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpentino said on Thursday.

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Anderson was reportedly a one-time adherent of an extreme wing of the Black Hebrew Israelite sect, which believes that African-Americans are the true descendants of the ancient Israelites. The sect has a large community in the Israeli city of Dimona, whose members serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

However, there are extremist wings of the sect in the U.S. that partake in anti-Semitic beliefs and who view white people as Satanic. Members of the sect harassed students from Covington Catholic High School during a field trip to the March for Life in February in Washington, D.C.

Anderson and Graham, who were reportedly romantically involved, engaged in an hours-long shootout with Jersey City police before they were killed. The two used a rifle and shotgun in the attack, and a pipe bomb was discovered in their van.

They were clearly targeting that store and the Jersey City Police Department,” Carpentino said.

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) suggested on Twitter on Thursday morning that the attack was perpetrated by white supremacists. The tweet was almost immediately removed.

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