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Four killed in shooting in New Jersey kosher shop

The scene outside the site of a deadly shooting at kosher supermarket in Jersey, City, Dec. 10, 2019.

NEW YORK — The gunmen who entered a Jersey City kosher supermarket and engaged in a deadly shootout with police deliberately chose the store, the city’s mayor said.

The explanation followed others that variously attributed the shooting in the store as a random crime, and that refused to name the shooters.

“Based on our initial investigation (which is ongoing) we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked,” Steven Fulop said on Twitter Tuesday night, Dec. 10.

“Due to an excess of caution the community may see additional police resources in the days, weeks ahead. We have no indication there are any further threats.”

The mayor’s tweet came hours after a news conference at which officials said there was “no indication of terrorism” or a hate crime.

Six people were killed, including a police officer and three civilians, in gunfire Tuesday afternoon that ended with an hours-long shootout at the JC Kosher Supermarket.

The officer had been shot earlier at a nearby cemetery trying to head off two suspects in a homicide, who apparently then proceded to the supermarket. Those two gunmen were killed in the supermarket shootout.

On Wednesday morning in a new tweet, Fulop said, “Last night after extensive review of our CCTV system, it has now become clear from the cameras that these two individuals targeted the Kosher grocery location on MLK Dr.”

He added in a second tweet:

“I’m Jewish and proud to live in a community like #JerseyCity that has always welcomed everyone. It is the home of #EllisIsland and has always been the golden door to America. Hate and anti-Semitism have never had a place here in JC and will never have a place in our city.”

The dead police officer was identified as Det. Joseph Seals, a married father of five.

Two of the killed civilians were identified by as Leah Minda Ferencz, 33, who owned the store in the Greenville neighborhood with her husband, and Moshe Deutsch, 24. Miguel Douglas, 49, a store employee, was the fourth murder victim.

Her husband Moshe Ferencz had left the store moments before the shooting to pray the afternoon mincha service at the synagogue next door and was unable to return to the shop, which he left in the care of his wife, who was killed in the attack. The Ferenczes have three children.

Early on Wednesday, the shooters were identified.

WNBC-TV in New York reported that the shooters were David Anderson and Francine Graham.

Anderson was once a follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, sources told WNBC. Members of the community believe they are descendants of the tribe of Judah. Groups vary widely in their connection to Judaism and Christianity.

Online postings connected to Anderson’s social media accounts contained anti-Semitic material. Investigators could not yet confirm whether Anderson wrote the material himself.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced late Tuesday that following the incident across the Hudson River in New Jersey, the New York Police Dept. would go on high alert.

“Although there is no credible or specific threat directed against New York City, I have directed the NYPD to assume a state of high alert. Tonight, NYPD assets are being redeployed to protect key locations in the Jewish community,” he tweeted.

He added:

“History teaches us how dangerous it is to ignore this kind of hateful pattern. We must stop anti-Semitism aggressively and decisively, and I call upon all New Yorkers to join in rooting out this threat.”

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