- The shooters in the Tuesday attack at a Jersey City, New Jersey Jewish grocery store have been identified as David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50.
- Law enforcement sources told local outlets that Anderson had a connection to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a hate group.
- Followers of the movement believe they are the true descendants of the ancient Israelites, and believe that other groups that identify as Jewish are impostors.
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The gunmen in Tuesday’s deadly Jersey City shooting at the Jersey City Kosher Supermarket have been identified. One of them appears to have a connection to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, which has been described as an anti-Semitic hate group, law enforcement officials told news outlets.
The shooters have been identified as 47-year-old David Anderson and 50-year-old Francine Graham.
The New York Times and NBC New York report that Anderson appeared to have a connection to, or was a one-time follower, of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement. WABC reports that both Anderson and Graham were members.
Black Hebrew Israelites believe they are the true descendants of the ancient Israelites and believe any other groups identifying as Jews are impostors, an idea rejected by mainstream Judaism.
There are several different Black Hebrew Israelite sects, not all of which hold the same beliefs. Some of them according to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, are associated with anti-Semitic and anti-white Black Nationalist hate groups.
“Although most Hebrew Israelites are neither explicitly racist nor anti-Semitic and do not advocate violence, there is a rising extremist sector within the Hebrew Israelite movement whose adherents believe that Jews are devilish impostors and who openly condemn whites as evil personified, deserving only death or slavery,” the SPLC details on its website.
Officials familiar with the case told The New York Times that a brief manifesto was found in the shooters’ van but provided no clear rationale behind the shooting.
Anderson had previously faced at least three different criminal weapons charges and had spent time in jail, according to NBC New York.
It is unclear if Graham has any ties to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement. Her brother, Frederick Graham, told the New York Times that he was not aware of any links she had to it.
However, a former neighbour told NBC New York that Graham became a “dark person” after she met Anderson, who coerced her into a militant religion. The neighbour could not identify what that religion was.
The two were also prime suspects in a homicide over the weekend in nearby Bayonne, New Jersey, according to News12 New Jersey.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said the kosher supermarket was “clearly targeted” in the attack, which left six people dead, including the assailants and a police officer.
“Hate and anti-Semitism have never had a place here in [Jersey City] and will never have a place in our city,” he said on Twitter.
The three victims were identified as Mindel Ferencz, 33, who co-managed the grocery store with her husband, Moshe Deutch, a 24-year-old rabbinical student, and Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, 49, who worked at the store.
The shooting is being investigated by police as a case of domestic terrorism, according to NBC New York.
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