A lengthy shootout in Jersey City, N.J., on Dec. 10 left six people dead, including one police officer, three civilians and two suspects.
Several Jersey City schools resorted to lockdown mode soon after the incident unfolded at around 12:30 p.m., according to multiple reports. That included Sacred Heart School, a Catholic elementary school on Bayview Avenue. The school is near the shooting scene. It began to release students at 4:15 p.m.
The Archdiocese of Newark released a statement, Dec. 11, regarding its Catholic school: “Our Sacred Heart School in Jersey City remains closed today. The school will reopen tomorrow, and counselors will be onsite to assist students and staff. We are grateful for the immediate response by staff in handling this terrifying situation with all the students. All the children are safe, and parents were notified yesterday in a timely fashion. We reiterate our gratitude to all the first responders in safeguarding the public during this deadly incident. As a Catholic community, we continue to grieve for the victims and for the family of Jersey City Police Det. Joseph Seals.”
Law-enforcement officials said the incident began at Bay View Cemetery in Jersey City, where the suspects were confronted by Det. Joseph Seals. Seals, 40, was gunned down and killed in the encounter, according to the police. The gunmen fled less than a mile away in a stolen U-Haul vehicle to JC Kosher Supermarket, where they also exchanged heavy fire with law-enforcement officials for hours. Three people in the supermarket were killed.
Two Victims With Brooklyn Roots
Two of the three victims were identified Wednesday as Brooklyn natives – the grocery store owner, Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, who co-owned the supermarket and Moshe Deutsch, 24, a customer. The third victim, a store delivery worker, was also shot, but has not yet been identified.
Ferencz, a mother of three children, and Deutsch, son of Brooklyn civic leader Abe Deutsch, both lived in Williamsburg before they moved to Jersey City, officials said.
On the day of the shooting, the Archdiocese of Newark released this statement: “There are no words to adequately describe the horrible and tragic events in Jersey City today. Our prayers are with the slain victims, the fallen police officer, and their families, as well as with all law enforcement agencies. We are grateful to all the first responders for their selfless acts of courage in safeguarding the public during this terrifying event. And we are grateful for the safety of all the students and staff of the schools in the vicinity including Sacred Heart School. Student safety is always a priority, and we operate under an abundance of caution to help ensure that safety. We will continue to keep all those involved, especially the innocent victims and their families, in our heartfelt prayers.”
The names of the suspects are David Anderson and Francine Graham. Anderson is believed to be linked to the Black Hebrew Israelite group, a historic but little-known American religious movement in which they believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites.
This story will be updated.