Jersey City, NJ – Federal officials said Monday that the bomb found in the U-Haul parked outside the kosher supermarket in Jersey City where two anti-Semitists lost a gunfight against police last month was big enough to have killed or maimed people as far 500 yards away.
The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey and the head of the local Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office told reporters on Jan. 13 that if the bomb had exploded, there would have been casualties the distance of five football fields, WNBC reported.
They also said there were also enough bomb-making supplies in the rental van for 47-year-old David Anderson and his co-conspirator, 50-year-old Francine Graham, to have built a whole additional bomb.
The van had been outfitted with ballistic panels and contained a weapon with a homemade silencer and a device to catch shell casings, WNBC reported.
The van was wanted in connection with the murder of a livery driver in Bayonne.
Det. Seals was ambushed by Anderson and Graham at the cemetery and fatally shot before they fled the scene.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said that Det. Seals’ actions “probably saved dozens if not more lives,” WNBC reported.
“We believe he threw off a broader plan” when he interrupted Anderson and Graham at the cemetery, Carpenito said.
Authorities said the investigation had determined that the shooters had done research on a Jewish Community Center in nearby Bayonne in the days leading up to the Jersey City attack, WNBC reported.
Surveillance video showed Anderson and Graham traveled to the JC Kosher Market after they killed Det. Seals.
The video showed they got out of the van with high-powered rifles and opened fire on the supermarket before barricading themselves inside for an hours-long standoff with police.
Two more officers were wounded during the gunfight.
The hours-long gun battle ended when Newark Police Department SWAT officers in an armored vehicle smashed through the front of the store, WNYW reported.
Police found five people dead inside the store, including Anderson and Graham.
Investigators determined that the shooters had visited the kosher supermarket multiple times ahead of the attack, the last time being the morning of the attack, WNBC reported.
Carpenito also said that a Jewish man driving his vehicle near Newark airport had been shot at a few days before the Anderson and Graham’s Jersey City rampage.
The federal prosecutor said that ballistics showed the gun that shot at the man’s car near the airport was the same gun that had been used to kill the livery driver the weekend before the attack, WNBC reported.
Authorities said that the gun used to shoot at the Jewish man’s car and to murder the livery driver belonged to Anderson and Graham.
Carpenito confirmed reports that both suspects had handcuff keys hidden in their underwear, WNBC reported.
In addition to the gun that was recovered in the U-Haul van, police recovered four weapons inside the kosher supermarket.
An AR-15 style weapon, a shotgun, and two semiautomatic handguns were found with the suspects’ bodies, WNBC reported.
Investigators were able to track two of the guns by their serial numbers.
The FBI said that Graham purchased those guns in the spring of 2018 at two different gun shops in Ohio, according to WNBC.
Authorities have said that Anderson was a soldier in the U.S. Army in the early 1990s.
Court records showed that Anderson was arrested for weapons offenses tied to a domestic violence incident in Kent, Ohio in 2011.
But then later that year, he was arrested in New Jersey and ended up spending three years in the Hudson County jail on weapons charges, WPIX reported.
Anderson was released from the Hudson County jail in 2014.
WPIX reported that Anderson became involved with the Black Hebrew Israelites after he left the U.S. Army.
The Black Hebrew Israelites are a black supremacist hate group which believes that they are the descendants of a lost tribe of Israelites and that Jews are imposters.
Officials said the extent of Anderson’s involvement in the hate group was still unclear, but law enforcement sources told WPIX that Anderson had been linked to the Israelite Church of God in Jersey City.
The Israelite Church of God is located only two blocks from where Anderson and his partner, 50-year-old Francine Graham, opened fire on a Jewish storefront, WPIX reported.
Carpenito said the investigation was ongoing and that a joint coalition of local and federal law enforcement were working together.