The perpetrators of an anti-Semitic shooting in Jersey City had a bomb in their van with the ability to kill people almost half a mile away, federal investigators revealed on Monday.
David Anderson and Francine Graham opened fire at the JC Koshoper Supermarket on December 10, killing three inside the store and setting off an hours-long gun battle with police. Shortly before the attack on the supermarket, Anderson and Graham killed New Jersey Detective Joseph Seals in a standoff at a cemetery in Jersey City. Seals was investigating the perpetrators’ U-Haul van, which had been linked to an earlier shooting.
“We believe [Seals] threw off a broader plan,” said U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito at a press conference with the local head of the FBI. Carpentino added that the detective’s actions “probably saved dozens if not more lives.”
Authorities could not reveal if they had any additional information on a plan by the perpetrators to target other locations, except that they had researched a Jewish community center in Bayonne, not far from Jersey City.
The investigators said Anderson and Graham had enough material stashed in their van to make a second bomb as well.
Following the Jersey City attack, a suspect attacked ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at a home in Monsey, N.Y. on the seventh night of Hanukkah. The suspect, Grafton Thomas, was caught several hours later while driving through the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.
Thomas, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, assaulted victims with a machete, leaving one critically injured. Federal authorities have charged Thomas with anti-Jewish hate crimes, while his family and attorney argue Thomas is not anti-Semitic and requires better treatment for his mental illness.