The mayor of Jersey City says that the shooters in this week’s attack were clearly targeting children at the yeshiva school attached to the kosher supermarket where they set up shop with high-powered weapons.
Mayor Steven Fulop said as much in a post on Twitter, where he noted that the doorway to the grocer was just feet away from where around 50 students were learning on Tuesday.
“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. We will never know 100% but the doorway to the yeshiva was 3 feet away + it seems he goes in that direction 1st,” the mayor wrote on Friday.
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He continued: “This is a horrible tragedy but even in so much darkness with lives lost there is some light in that without question had the bravery/quick response of the police not trapped them in the store this could have been much much worse.”
The two shooters were killed after the hours-long shoot out. A police officer was also killed, as were three civilians.
In the days since, investigators have tied the two shooters to the Black Hebrew Israelites, a movement identified by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as a supremacist group that views white people as “inherently evil” and think Catholics and Jews practice a “gutter religion” that preys on black people.
The attackers have been identified as 47-year-old David Anderson and 50-year-old Francine Graham, a four-year veteran of the Army reserve. The pair were reportedly a couple.
Authorities have also said they found a rambling religious manifesto inside of one of the suspect’s rental van.