JERSEY CITY – Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said that a kosher grocery – where at least two Jews were killed in a shooting this week – was specifically targeted by gunmen.
According to Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly, one officer, three bystanders, and two suspected gunman were all killed in a gun battle that lasted for hours.
The shootout began in Bay View Cemetery Cemetery in Jersey City, where a police detective was shot and killed. Two of the gunmen proceeded to the JC Kosher Supermarket on Martin Luther King Drive, where several bodies were found. Chabad.org identified the two members of the Jewish community who were killed inside the kosher store as Leah Minda Ferencz, 31, and Moshe Deutsch, 24.
After the shooting, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop wrote on Twitter that officials believed the “active shooters targeted the location they attacked” based on findings in an initial and ongoing investigation.
“Last night after extensive review of our (closed-circuit television system) it has now become clear from the cameras that these two individuals targeted the Kosher grocery location on Martin Luther King Drive,” Fulop wrote on Twitter.
In another post on Twitter, the Jersey City mayor wrote, “I’m Jewish and proud to live in a community like #JerseyCity that has always welcomed everyone. It is the home of #EllisIsland and has always been the golden door to America. Hate and anti-Semitism have never had a place here in JC and will never have a place in our city.”
Following the shooting, the New York Times reported that a law enforcement official had said one of the assailants involved in the firefight, George Anderson, was linked to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement and had published anti-Semitic posts online.
The movement has no connection with mainstream Judaism, and has been described as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy group that tracks such movements.
The kosher store is located next to a small synagogue and school with about 40 Jewish children, said Rabbi Shmuel Levitin, who directs Chabad Young Professionals of Hoboken and Jersey City with his wife, Esta, and frequents the market.
The store owner had left moments before the shooting began to pray the afternoon Mincha service at the synagogue and was unable to return, said Rabbi Moshe Schapiro, co-director of Chabad of Hoboken and Jersey City, who has been in touch with him.
Jersey City is home to a growing number of Hasidic families who have moved to the area from Brooklyn.
JNS.org contributed to this story.