FBI locates van thought linked to deadly New Jersey attack

FBI locates van thought linked to deadly New Jersey attack

Vehicle, which suspects reportedly lived in, found in Orange, New Jersey, after police in nearby Ramapo, New York, alert public to search

Police officers stand near the scene of a gun fight at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, N.J., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. (AP/Seth Wenig)
Police officers stand near the scene of a gun fight at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, N.J., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. (AP/Seth Wenig)

ORANGE, New Jersey — Federal authorities have recovered a van that may be connected to the Jersey City shootings that killed four people and are now being investigated as domestic terrorism, the FBI said Saturday.

The white van recovered Saturday morning in Orange, New Jersey, about 11 miles (17 kilometers) northwest of Jersey City, is being examined for any evidence related to the attack, the FBI said in a news release.

A man and woman killed a police officer near a cemetery, three people in a kosher supermarket and then died in an hourslong gun battle with police Tuesday, authorities say. It was not clear how the van may be linked to the attack, and authorities did not release further details.

According to reports, attackers, David Anderson and Francine Graham may have lived in the van after being evicted from their Elizabeth, New Jersey, home.

Police in Ramapo, New York, close to New Jersey’s northern border, had earlier said that FBI officials had told them they were trying to locate a white van in connection with Tuesday’s events.

People were urged not to approach the vehicle if it was spotted but to immediately contact local law enforcement authorities.

***UPDATE SAT 12/14 1:15PM***Van has been located in New Jersey. RPD Thanks everyone who shared our post and kept an…

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Town of Ramapo Police Department‎‏ ב- יום שישי, 13 בדצמבר 2019

New Jersey’s attorney general said Thursday that the attackers were driven by hatred of Jews and law enforcement. The two were armed with a variety of weapons, including an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun, and a pipe bomb was also found in a stolen U-Haul van — a vehicle different from the white van recovered Saturday.

The attackers, Anderson, 47, and Graham, 50, had expressed interest in a fringe religious group called the Black Hebrew Israelites, whose members often rail against Jews and whites, but there was no evidence so far that they were members and they are believed to have acted alone, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said.

Police officers gather near the scene of a shooting in Jersey City, New Jersey, December 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

The two shot and killed Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals in Bay View Cemetery, then killed Leah Mindel Ferencz, 31, who owned the grocery with her husband; 24-year-old Moshe Deutsch, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was shopping there; and store employee Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, 49, Grewal said.

A fourth person in the store was shot and wounded but managed to escape, authorities said.

Responders work to clean up the scene of a shooting that left multiple people dead at a kosher market, December 11, 2019, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

Anderson and Graham are also prime suspects in the slaying of an Uber driver found dead in a car trunk in nearby Bayonne the previous weekend, authorities have said.

The killings in the city of 270,000 people across the Hudson River from New York City spread concern through the Jewish community.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said Friday that he believes that the two gunmen were actually planning to target a yeshiva next door that had 50 children inside at the time of the assault.

“My opinion is that as more info comes out it’ll become increasingly clear that the target was the 50 children at the Yeshiva attached to that store.” Fulop, who is Jewish, tweeted:  “We will never know 100% but the doorway to the yeshiva was 3 feet away + it seems he goes in that direction 1st.”

Fulop later clarified his views to the New York Jewish Week, saying: “My job is different than the people that are doing the investigation. I do my best to say it how I see it.”

He cited the locations of the store and yeshiva and the large cache of weapons that the shooters brought in their vehicle.

“It’s very, very clear that the perpetrator first doesn’t go directly to the deli, he goes toward the door adjacent to it, the building and the doors adjacent to it are the yeshiva…he brought a pipe bomb and he brought 5 guns and hundreds of bullets…we know that he drove deliberately to that location,” said Fulop. “You put all things together, it’s hard to come to any other conclusion.”

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