Authorities have identified two Black Hebrew Israelites as the suspects behind the fatal shootout in Jersey City on Tuesday that left 6 people dead, including one police officer.
David Anderson and Francine Graham have been listed as the persons responsible for the “targeted” attack on a Jewish market that left at least six people dead, NBC New York reported Wednesday morning.
“Three sources say Anderson was a one-time follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a group of African Americans whose members believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites and may adhere to both Christian and Judaic beliefs,” NBC New York reportd.
One of Graham’s neighbors revealed to NBC that she lived near Anderson but didn’t clarify any other relation.
“The neighbor also claims Graham was coerced into a militant religion he could not identify; chanting and reading of the New Testament, translated into ‘evil,’ could be heard from her home,” NBC New York also reported.
Jewish Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, took to Twitter to express his thoughts about the antisemitic attacks. He tweeted on Tuesday that surveillance video footage he saw confirmed that “these two individuals targeted the Kosher grocery location” and went on to reference “anti-semitism” on Wednesday.
According to the New York Times, one suspect “published anti-Semitic and anti-police posts online and investigators believe the attack was motivated by those sentiments.”
James Shea, the Jersey City Public Safety Director, said on Wednesday that closed-circuit footage showed that the shooting “did not begin with gunfire between police officers and perpetrators and then move to the store.” Instead, Shea said,
“It began with an attack on the civilians inside the store” after the suspected parked and exited a “van with long guns in their hands. And they immediately begin firing in the location where we lost three of our citizens yesterday.”
Black Hebrew Israelites received media attention earlier this year following an encounter between a white teenager from Kentucky and a Native American elder at the Lincoln Memorial in January. The now-viral moment showed Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann taunting Nathan Phillips.
But, according to the Washington Post, “a small band of Hebrew Israelites” had “been goading and preaching at both the Native Americans and high schoolers, using profanity and highly provocative language, for nearly an hour.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center referred to a militant wing of the Black Hebrew Israelites as “black supremacists.”
In addition, hate crimes have reportedly been on the rise since the election of Donald Trump. “With hate crimes on the rise, old coalitions between blacks and Jews are being rekindled and tested,” NPR reported.
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