A man and a woman who shot dead four people before being killed were considering trying to kill dozens of Jewish children at a Yeshiva that was attached to the grocery store they attacked, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said.
“My opinion is that as more info comes out it’ll become increasingly clear that the target was the 50 children at the Yeshiva attached to that store. We will never know 100 percent but the doorway to the yeshiva was 3 feet away + it seems he goes in that direction 1st,” Fulop said in a statement on Friday.
Surveillance footage appeared to show one of the shooters considering entering the school next door before changing direction.
“This is a horrible tragedy but even in so much darkness with lives lost there is some light in that without question had the bravery/quick response of the police not trapped them in the store this could have been much much worse,” Fulop added.
My opinion is that as more info comes out it’ll become increasingly clear that the target was the 50 children at the Yeshiva attached to that store. We will never know 100% but the doorway to the yeshiva was 3 feet away + it seems he goes in that direction 1st
— Steven Fulop (@StevenFulop) December 13, 2019
Jersey City public safety director James Shea told reporters at City Hall on Friday that the shooters planned to commit additional violence.
“Everything about it is consistent with the (the notion) that they didn’t intend to harm only four people—that they had a larger plan,” Shea told reporters. “Based on the amount of guns, the amount of ammunition, the amount of explosive devices we would have to assume they planned to do a lot more damage than we allowed them to do. The actions of those officers saved lives.”
The shooters opened fire on Tuesday at JC Kosher Supermarket. They were identified as David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, one of whom was reportedly a member of the Black Hebrew Israelites, a hate group that’s been described as espousing black supremacy and violence.
Fulop said earlier in the week that what happened “was a hate crime against the Jewish people,” noting video footage shows the pair driving to the market and bypassing potential targets before shooting at Jews.
“It is also clear that the shooters have indicated on social media favorable sentiment towards groups that show antisemitism. It is also clear that there was a pipe bomb in the vehicle showing an intent to hurt many more people,” he said.
The four people killed were identified as Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals; Leah Minda Ferencz, who co-owned the grocery store; an employee, Miguel Douglas; and Moshe Deutsch, a customer. After an hourslong standoff with police, the suspects were shot dead.
In a statement, the United Jewish Organizations said that Ferencz and her husband were some of the first Jews to settle in Jersey City, which sits just outside New York City, due to rising prices in Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn.
“They did not do it for themselves, but to pave the way for a new community that lives harmoniously with their neighbors. She was a caring and nurturing mother for her three children, and at the same time helped her husband who ran the first kosher grocery in the area,” continued the statement. “A life of selflessness, and dedication to others, full of love, was cut short by vicious hate-filled murders.”