A candlelight memorial was held on the steps of Jersey City's city hall on Thursday to remember the victims of the 2019 shooting attack on a kosher grocery store which left four people dead along with the two attackers.
"Everyone who saw the scene that night or that next day will never forget how much worse it could have been but for their heroism," New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Paltkin said, crediting the Jersey City police department for preventing a worse outcome of the attack.
The memorial was organized by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey and the Israeli-American Council.
"Today marks three years since unspeakable hate ambushed Jersey City," Platkin wrote on his Twitter. "But neither the city nor our State surrendered to it. We will never forget the lives we lost. Today and always, we honor their memory by ensuring New Jersey's doors remain open to love and closed to hate."
Today marks three years since unspeakable hate ambushed Jersey City. But neither the city nor our State surrendered to it. We will never forget the lives we lost. Today and always, we honor their memory by ensuring New Jersey's doors remain open to love and closed to hate. pic.twitter.com/mTTKb5M7Ty— Attorney General Matt Platkin (@NewJerseyOAG) December 10, 2022
What happened on that night?
On December 10, 2019, two gunmen - David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50 - murdered a Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals before they drove to the small Jewish community and opened fire at a kosher grocery store, killing the owner Leah Minda Ferencz and her husband Moshe Deutch, as well as one of the employees, Douglas Rodriguez.
"The disease that is anitsemitism has clearly spread to epidemic proportions,"The Anti-Defamation League said in a statement
According to ABC 7 news, in early 2020 officials discovered evidence showing that the attackers were planning the attack for months prior.
Jersey City department of public safety director James Shea said the shooters passed by other potential targets before the attack.
"The two suspects may have recent or past ties to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, some sects of which profess antisemitic and racist beliefs," the ADL said in a statement about the attack.
Former New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said, "Now we have seen this extraordinarily extreme form of violence reach the doorstep of New York City and we have to take that as a warning sign. We have to understand that people are now living in constant fear. We've entered a new reality."
"Our community has been terrorized once again by violent antisemitism," the ADL said. "From Pittsburg to Poway and now to Jersey City, the disease that is antisemitism has clearly spread to epidemic proportions. But we will not be defeated, we will not stand down, we will not be intimidated.
"We will continue to speak up and out every time antisemitism and bigotry rear their ugly heads. We expect the same from our nation's leaders. That is the least that can be done to honor the memories of the victims: Mindel Ferencz, Moshe Deutsch, Douglas Miguel Rodriguez and Detective Joseph Seals."
Who posted about the memorial?
"Three years ago today - Jersey City experienced a terrible mass shooting," Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop wrote on Twitter, attaching a clip from a news report from that day. "Today we use that terrible day as a reminder that hate, bigotry and antisemitism have no place in our city, state, or country."
"Today marks three years since the Jersey City terror attack when the Jewish community and law enforcement were targeted by unthinkable violence," the New Jersey Homeland Security wrote on their Twitter, adding a few pictures from the vigil. "Thursday, religious and State leaders, including NJOHSP Director Doran, honored the lives lost and stood in solidarity against antisemitism."
Today marks 3 years since the Jersey City terror attack, when the Jewish community and law enforcement were targeted by unthinkable violence. Thursday, religious and State leaders, including NJOHSP Dir. Doran, honored the lives lost and stood in solidarity against antisemitism. pic.twitter.com/wUopSdqDsN— NJ Homeland Security (@NJOHSP) December 10, 2022
"Today, we remember the four people who were murdered three years ago in a hateful shooting at a Jersey City Kosher market and the one person murdered by the same extremists a few days before," the ADL tweeted. "We will never stop fighting the hate that led to this horrific attack."
Tzvi Joffre contributed to this article.