Jersey City Shootout

Jersey City Shooters Identified, Were Prime Suspects in Other Homicide

David Anderson was a one-time follower of the Black Hebrew Israelites, a group whose members believe they are ancient Israelites' true descendants. Francine Graham met him -- and then turned into a 'dark person,' her neighbor says

NBCUniversal, Inc.

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, identified as David Anderson and Francine Graham, were found dead inside the supermarket after the bloodshed

UPDATE: Hate Against Jewish People, Police Fueled Jersey City 'Domestic Terror' Attack, New Jersey Attorney General Says

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.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the Hebrew Israelites a black supremacist group. Some sects within the movement are known for their fierce condemnations of white and Jewish people.

There was a note with religious writings in the U-Haul he and Graham allegedly drove to the scene, which is believed to have been written by Anderson. In summary, the note is believed to have said along the lines of 'I do this because my Creator makes me do this, and I hate who He hates.'

However, officials say a motive — including any alleged nexus to hate or terror — remains under active investigation. 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.

A neighbor who said he lived next to Graham for years said she was 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.

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.

Graham was born and raised in Upper Manhattan, then moved to Elizabeth before she met Anderson and became homeless, law enforcement sources said.

She had no prior criminal history, and her social media presence was not considered radical.

Law enforcement sources said it is believed Graham and Anderson had been living in the U-Haul van they were seen on video exiting. Graham had rented it and never returned it, explaining why it had been reported stolen soon after.

Social media shows Anderson may have been living out of another van for some time before the shootout, selling snacks and clothing to try and get by.

David Anderson
Getty Images/Handout

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.

Investigators have tracked social media postings believed linked to Anderson, with law enforcement officials looking into whether quotes on social media were written by him — including one post that read "Blacks ARE Jews, the 'jewish' are imposters."

He also may be connected to anti-police comments posted in connection to past events like Ferguson, Missouri, and the shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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.

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.

Authorities are investigating whether Anderson traveled to Ohio to purchase some of the guns used in the shootout, law enforcement sources said. A gun with a silencer was among those found inside the U-Haul van by law enforcement officials.

Copyright NBC New York
Contact Us