The deadly attack a New Jersey supermarket on Tuesday killed 6, including the two assailants. According to the details that emerged on Wednesday, one of the assailants, David Anderson, was part of a group called 'Black Hebrew Israelite', which is considered to be a hate group. Anderson might have introduced his girlfriend Francine Graham to the crime, investigators suspect.
Who are Black Hebrew Israelites?
Though the real motive of the crime is unknown, initial investigation reveals that David Anderson was driven by the ideologies of the 'Black Hebrew Israelites. The fringe religious movement has been labeled a hate group by experts who track extremisms in the US. The group believes that African Americans are the true descendants of Biblical Jews. The followers have displayed anti-semitic, anti-white views in the past.
FS Cherry founded "Black Jew" church in 1886
The group traces its origin to self-declared prophet F.S. Cherry, who in 1886 founded a "Black Jew" church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Cherry preached that white people were inherently evil and hated by God, and predicted that Jesus would return in 2000 to start a race war that would end with black people ruling over whites, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
SPLC lists various branches of the movement among the country's black nationalist hate groups, most of which it says are "strongly anti-white and anti-Semitic". During investigations, a note was discovered in the couple's truck, which read: "I do this because my creator makes me do this and I hate who he hates".
Timeline of Tuesday's attack
According to reports, the couple David N. Anderson and Francine Graham fatally shot police officer Joseph Seals at a cemetery. The couple was being interrogated by Seals over a cab driver's murder. The couple then drove their U-Haul truck to the Jersey City Kosher Supermarket at about 12:20 and went on a shooting spree, CNN reported.
At 12:38 p.m., a bystander, after discovering Seals body, called 911. Police arrived at about 12:43 and got engaged in a gun-fight with the assailants, killing both. Other than the assailants, three people lost their lives in the supermarket shooting, while one was injured.
Hate crimes and rise in anti-Semitism
Jersey city mayor of Steven Fulp indicated a rise in anti-semitism as the reason behind the attack. Outlining reason behind his belief that the attack specifically targeted the Jewish community, the mayor said that the videos of the attack clearly showed that the attackers bypassed potential targets near the store and "chose a Jewish grocery store".
The couple had also expressed anti-semitic views in their social media posts.