Top state leaders gathered at the Jersey City Menorah lighting this evening where victims of the anti-Semitic shooting from nearly two years ago were remembered.
“The story of Hanukkah is one of light overcoming darkness and I think that the story of Jersey City over the last couple years embodies that as well,” Mayor Steven Fulop said on the front steps of City Hall.
On December 10th, 2019, David Anderson and Francine Graham fatally shot Police Det. Joseph Seals at Bayview Cemetery before starting an hours-long standoff with police.
The duo also murdered Mindy Ferencz, Douglas Miguel “Miguel” Rodriguez Barzola, and Moshe Deutsch before turning their weapons on themselves. The widows of Seals and Rodriguez both attended this evening’s ceremony.
Last month, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office announced that a state grand jury declined to charge any of the officers involved in the incident.
Scott Richman, the Anti-Defamation League’s Regional Director for New York and New Jersey, reflected on what the events of that fateful day meant.
“The message from this group of people who were killed is that we are all in this together: this is the message that come across loud and clear from that horrific day two years ago – it’s the message from the Jersey City community that came together to support one another after the attacks,” he said.
“That’s the message that’s conveyed by the extraordinary group of leaders who’ve joined us today, who stand behind me, and that’s the message of the ‘Shine a Light’ campaign.”
ADL, the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, the Israeli American Council, and dozens of community partners are working together to raise awareness about anti-Semitism during Hanukkah week.
Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck recalled being on his way to Washington D.C. with his predecessor, Gurbir Grewal, when tragedy struck, commending communities for coming together during arduous times.
He also committed to taking a stand against hate as long as he is in charge of the AG’s office.
“The commitment that I make to all of you as New Jersey’s chief law enforcement office is that there is no place for hate in this state: we will never allow anti-Semitism to take root here,” he said.
“We will use every single tool at our disposal to protect this community and every community of New Jersey.”
Furthermore, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) also recalled unity in the aftermath of the killings, recalling that everyone put their differences aside.
“We all came together and we were there for reach other: that’s the way it should be and that’s Jersey City and that’s New Jersey.”
Other dignitaries in attendance included FBI Newark Field Office Special Agent in Charge George Crouch, Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey CEO Jason Shames, along with Jersey City Council members Joyce Watterman, James Solomon, Rolando Lavarro, Mira Prinz-Arey, and Daniel Rivera.