The two terrorists who were behind an anti-Semitic shooting last month in Jersey City reportedly had constructed a massive bomb that had the ability to kill people up to 500 yards away, according to federal law enforcement officials.
“New Jersey shooters David Anderson and Francine Graham had an improvised explosive device inside their U-Haul van that had the reach of five football fields, a weapon that could have been part of larger wave of attacks targeting the Jewish community and law enforcement,” CNN reported. “There were also enough materials in the van to make another explosive device.”
FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge Gregory Ehrie said, “If it exploded in the right place it could have certainly injured or killed people up to five football fields away.”
“This was nothing but a senseless, evil, cowardly act of anti-Semitism and hatred towards not just the Jewish community but law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito. “Anderson and Graham both targeted Jewish victims and law enforcement and we know now that they planned greater acts of mayhem on both communities.”
“Ehrie and others mentioned the homemade bomb along with new details about the investigation into both the shooters and the incidents that led up to the pair opening fire inside a kosher supermarket in Jersey City on December 10,” CNN added. “Both shooters … were living in that van. They surveilled the supermarket days before the attack and even drove past the location that day, officials said.”
The Associated Press noted that the two attackers had expressed hatred of Jews and of law enforcement in notes that were discovered and in social media posts.
“Anderson, 47, and Graham, 50, shot and killed Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals in a chance meeting in a cemetery Dec. 10, then drove to the market and killed Mindel Ferencz, 31, who owned the store with her husband; Moshe Deutsch, 24, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was shopping there; and store employee Douglas Miguel Rodriguez,” the AP reported. It’s not known for certain what prompted the confrontation between Seals and the shooters. Officials speculated that Seals, a 13-year veteran who was meeting someone about returning a car that had been impounded, may have stopped the U-Haul van Anderson and Graham were driving because it fit the description of a vehicle connected to the slaying of a livery car driver in Bayonne a few days earlier.”
“In doing so, Seals may have thrown off their plans and prevented more bloodshed, Carpenito said, but he did not provide more detail,” the AP added.
The two attackers, who had researched a Jewish center in the days prior to their attack, barricaded themselves in a kosher store and were killed after a lengthy shootout with law enforcement officials.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said that he believed the anti-Semitic terrorists intended “to target a yeshiva next door that had 50 children inside at the time of the assault,” The Times of Israel reported.
“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 tweeted: “We will never know 100% but the doorway to the yeshiva was 3 feet away + it seems he goes in that direction 1st.”