A New Jersey man whose number was found in the back pocket of one of the perpetrators of last week’s fatal attack on a Jewish market has been arrested for illegally possessing a weapon, federal authorities said.
By Associated Press
Ahmed A-Hady, of Keyport, 35, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, the U.S. attorney’s office said late Saturday. A-Hady hasn’t been charged with providing any of the weapons used in Tuesday’s bloody rampage in Jersey City.
David Anderson and Francine Graham killed Jersey City Police Det. Joseph Seals in a cemetery and then stormed a kosher supermarket, killing three people before being killed themselves after a lengthy shootout with police, authorities have said.
In addition to Seals, the attackers killed Mindel Ferencz, 31, who co-owned the grocery; 24-year-old Moshe Deutsch, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was shopping there; and store employee Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, 49, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said last week.
A fourth person in the store was shot and wounded but managed to escape, authorities said.
Afterward, a note was found in Anderson’s pocket containing a telephone number and a Keyport address, according to authorities.
The number belonged to A-Hady, and the address was for a storefront pawnshop, officials said. Records indicated that A-Hady had bought two handguns in 2007 before being convicted of a felony in 2012 that made him ineligible to own firearms.
When authorities went to the pawnshop and interviewed A-Hady, he acknowledged still owning the weapons but denied that they were on the premises. But after receiving a tip about a safe, investigators searched the business and A-Hady’s home and found weapons including three AR-15-style assault rifles, three handguns and one shotgun as well as more than 400 rounds of ammunition, “including a large number of hollow point bullets.”
Anderson and Graham were armed with multiple weapons including an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun, and a pipe bomb was also found in the stolen U-Haul van they drove to the market. Two of the weapons used by Anderson and Graham were bought by Graham in Ohio last year, police have said. It’s not known where they got the three other guns.
No information was provided about any possible relationship between A-Hady and the attackers. A-Hady is expected to appear Monday before a federal magistrate; it’s unclear whether he has an attorney, and a message could not be left at a number listed in his name.
CBS2NY reported that A-Hady’s brother said the family had never heard of the suspects and the pawnshop didn’t sell firearms. “We don’t sell weapons,” Adhem A-Hady told the station. “We never sold weapons. The only thing that we have in the store is, like, nunchucks.”
Authorities on Saturday announced the recovery of a white van they said may be connected to the shootings, which are being investigated as domestic terrorism. Authorities have said Anderson, 47, and Graham, 50, had expressed interest in the Black Hebrew Israelites, a fringe religious group whose members often rail against Jews and whites, but that there was no evidence so far that they were members and they are believed to have acted alone.
Anderson and Graham are also prime suspects in the slaying of a livery driver found dead in a car trunk in nearby Bayonne the previous weekend, authorities have said.