Authorities in New Jersey on Thursday announced they are investigating Tuesday’s killing of a police officer and an attack on a kosher supermarket, with three gunned down by a man and woman on a rampage, as an antisemitic hate crime.
“I can confirm we are investigating this matter as potential acts of domestic terrorism, fueled by antisemitism and anti law enforcement beliefs,” New Jersey’s attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, said.
The two killers who shot dead a detective in Jersey City, then stormed a kosher supermarket and killed three bystanders, had apparently been followers of the Black Hebrew Israelites, a fringe group whose members have been known to rail against white people and Jews.
One of the suspects had made antisemitic posts online, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation, but who was not able to disclose their name, said on Thursday.
The FBI on Wednesday searched the Harlem headquarters of the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ, which is the formal name of the Black Hebrew Israelites group, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
“The why and the ideology and the motivation that’s what we’re investigating,” Grewal said, adding that authorities are trying to determine whether anyone other groups were involved in planning the attack.
Others, including Jersey City’s mayor, Steve Fulop, pronounced the bloodshed a hate crime against Jews, with Fulop saying surveillance video made it clear that the attackers targeted the Jewish market, slowly and deliberately driving up to the grocery in a stolen rental van and immediately opening fire.
The attackers were identified as David N Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, both of them also prime suspects in the slaying of a Uber driver found dead in a car trunk in nearby Bayonne over the weekend, who was Jewish.
Anderson used a rifle in the grocery attack. Grewal wouldn’t confirm if Graham also had a weapon when she followed Anderson into the market. Several weapons were recovered from the store.