BAYONNE, NJ — The terrorists that killed four people, including Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals, Googled the Bayonne Jewish Community Center, possibly considering it as a target, according to federal officials.
At a Monday press conference officials also revealed that not only did the vehicle the terrorists use have a very powerful explosive device, but also the material that could have constructed a second.
The device, officials said, could have caused injury to someone standing as far away as 500 yards.
The killers — David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50 — officials said, had spent months planning an attack that eventually ended up with a shootout at a Jewish grocery store on MLK Drive in Jersey City on Dec. 10.
Anderson and Graham were killed in a two-hour shootout with police.
The two, apparently filled with hatred for Jews, purchased weapons in Ohio where they also learned to use them. They are also linked to the murder of Michael Rumberger, who police found dead in the trunk of a Lincoln Town Car, days before the attack.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said a larger tragedy appears to have been thwarted.
Mayor Jimmy Davis said that he hadn’t commented previously because of the ongoing investigation but that the Bayonne Police Department was aware of the possible threat to the Jewish Community Center in Bayonne.
“We were told that Bayonne might have been target, and we set up security. Once we heard about the events in Jersey City, we stationed police cars in front of the center as well as the shiva,” he said. “We also assigned police officers inside. We kept the officers there as added security.”
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has also said that security has been beefed up around religious centers throughout Jersey City and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Department assigns units to various places of worship when requested.
“The department has increased security at the temple on Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City,” said Freeholder Bill O’Dea. Following a request they also increased security around St. Al’s Church near Lincoln Park, O’Dea added.