(ABOVE: JCPD preparing to engage assailants near the JC Kosher Supermarket. Image via twitter)
In a story that has captured international headlines, the victims and perpetrators from Tuesday’s horrific Jersey City shootout have been identified.
Leah Minda Ferencz, co-owner of the JC Kosher Supermarket, was killed in that store, along with her cousin, Moshe Hirsch Deutch, and co-worker Miguel Jason Rodriguez. According to NorthJersey.com, Ferencz and Deutch were both prominent figures in the regional Orthodox Jewish community. Rodriguez was an immigrant from Ecuador, who was working to provide for his wife and 11 year-old daughter.
(ABOVE: Image via JC Kosher Supermarket)
Assailants entered the store around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon, fleeing nearby Bayview Cemetery after allegedly shooting Jersey City Police Detective Joe Seals. A 15-year veteran of the JCPD, Detective Seals died as a result of that shooting, leaving behind a wife and five children.
In the immediate aftermath of Seals’ shooting, assailants reportedly drove a stolen U-Haul van as far as the JC Kosher Supermarket and were then pinned down by pursuing JCPD units already on the scene.
BELOW: Footage via NBC New York — Viewer discretion advised
In the minutes and hours that followed, a tumultuous gun battle unfolded on the streets of Greenville, a neighborhood on Jersey City’s west side. Multiple units from various jurisdictions engaged the assailants, who were later found among the dead within the market. A number of other first responders were wounded in the shootout and received treatment at area hospitals.
MASSIVE police response as gunmen firing at officers & civilians in Jersey City
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 10, 2019
Those assailants have been identified as David Anderson and Francine Graham. According to NBC New York, Anderson was reportedly 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 New York Times has reported that there was a rambling “manifesto” found in the stolen U-Haul used by the assailants.
A motive and/or connection to hate or terror remains under active investigation, officials say. This statement is punctuated by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop‘s assertion that the JC Kosher Supermarket was in fact targeted by the assailants.
Jersey City’s Greenville section has seen a realtively recent, steady influx of Orthodox Jewish residents.
Meanwhile, security and awareness remains high throughout the region. Ravi Bhalla, Mayor of neighboring Hoboken, said in a statement, “I’ve been in touch with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and our local Jewish faith leaders to offer my support and any resources that they need during this difficult time. While there is no known imminent threat, our Hoboken Police Department will increase their presence at our Jewish places of worship and gathering, as well as our schools, to ensure the safety of all residents.”
Bullet holes in a Jersey City school. Photo by Sean Adams. pic.twitter.com/EUp2BkUcq8
— Wayne Cabot (@WayneCabot) December 11, 2019
(NOTE: We have received the above link directly from a JCPOBA spokesperson and can confirm its authenticity. Please be vigilant, as there have been many reports of fraudulent fundraisers.)
We will update this post with further information on any other relief efforts for victims, or any further news as this story continues to develop.