Crime and Courts
Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
Jersey City Shootout

Sources: Hidden Handcuff Keys Found on Bodies of Jersey City Attack Suspects

David Anderson and Francine Graham were found dead inside JC Kosher Supermarket last week after a hate-driven domestic terror attack that killed four innocent people, authorities have said

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What to Know

  • One detective and three civilians were killed during a targeted shootout and standoff at a Jersey City kosher market last week
  • Two suspects, David Anderson and Francine Graham, were found dead inside the market; NJ's top prosecutor said their motivation was hate-fueled domestic terror
  • The FBI searched a South Amboy pawn shop Monday in connection to the investigation, after arresting the owner of another pawn shop Saturday

David Anderson and Francine Graham, the man and woman officials say took four lives in Jersey City in a hate-fueled domestic terror attack last week, both had handcuff keys hidden on their bodies when they were searched after the prolonged bloodshed at the JC Kosher Supermarket ended, law enforcement sources familiar with the case tell News 4.

Anderson and Graham stormed the store with rifles and immediately opened fire on the people inside, bypassing others on the street, in what authorities have described as a targeted attack. They were found dead when it ended.

The sources tell News 4 Anderson's handcuff key was hidden in his underwear; it wasn't clear where Graham had stashed hers. The presumption by law enforcement, they say, is that if the pair could have unlocked the handcuffs should they have been captured early in the spree, they could either escape custody or take more police officers down.

Questions about their motive in what surveillance video showed to clearly be a targeted attack on the market had swirled in the 48 hours after the prolonged shootout that left schools riddled with bullets. But on Thursday, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Anderson and Graham went there armed with rifles for a single purpose: They were bent on taking out Jewish people — and members of law enforcement.

Ultimately, they took four innocent lives -- that of a veteran Jersey City police detective and three civilians, a mother of five, a Brooklyn native and the son of a noted Williamsburg community leader.

The FBI said in a new statement Monday its investigation was active and ongoing and re-upped its call for anyone with information about Anderson and Graham to call 1-800-CALL-FBI. New Jersey's Homeland Security Director Jared Maples said on Monday that there was no ongoing public security threat.

"The FBI continues to conduct law enforcement operations and interviews to learn all we can about the tragedy that traumatized our community," said Special Agent in Charge Gregory Ehrie.

FBI agents searched a South Amboy pawn shop Monday afternoon, which was believed to be connected to the Jersey City probe. That follows Saturday's arrest of a Keyport pawn shop owner, whose address and phone number were found in Anderson's pocket. (His family has denied any connection to the case.)

The community needs to know that we continue to follow all leads in this investigation and will live no stone unturned to find the facts connected with this case.

GREGORY EHRIE, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE

Officials have said they believe the two attackers identified themselves in the past as Black Hebrew Israelites, a movement whose members have been known to rail against white people and Jews. Grewal said authorities have not established a formal link between the pair and the group.

Authorities have found social media postings from Anderson that were anti-police and had anti-Jewish elements, law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case previously told News 4. Grewal said Thursday investigators are still working to corroborate the messages were posted by Anderson and reflected his views, but at this point, he and others felt comfortable revealing the preliminary motive.

Still under investigation: How Anderson and Graham selected the supermarket and Det. Joseph Seals as their targets. Grewal said Thursday that authorities believe the two were working alone.

Five firearms to date have been linked to the duo. Four — an AR-15 style weapon, a shotgun, a semiautomatic firearm and a Glock — were recovered from inside the kosher market. A fifth — a weapon with a homemade silencer and a homemade device to catch shell casings — was discovered in the U-Haul they drove to the market. That van was outfitted with ballistic panels; it also had a crudely made pipe bomb inside.

Investigators have been able to track two of the five weapons thus far via their serial numbers. Both, Grewal said, were purchased by Graham at separate gun shops in Ohio in the spring of 2018.

The investigation into the shootout and the suspects is being led by federal authorities and conducted by a joint coalition of law enforcement entities.

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