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Jersey City shooter was Army vet turned drifter with long criminal history, court records show

Jersey City police respond to an active shooting incident at Martin Luther King Drive and Bidwell Avenue on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. (NJ Advance Media Group/TNS)

One of the shooters in the Jersey City attack on a Jewish grocery store has a long criminal history and was once arrested for roughing up a girlfriend and telling her, “Call the police because I’m gonna kill you,” according to police reports and court documents.

David Anderson was arrested Sept. 20, 2009, in Kent, Ohio, after a dispute with a girlfriend he had met in an online dating site. Anderson had moved from New Jersey to Ohio to live with the woman and the two discussed having children together, according to a police report released Thursday.

But the victim told police that after an argument over $80, Anderson turned from her and punched a hole in the wall.

According to the report, Anderson then grabbed the woman hard by the cheeks, pulled her up from the sofa and said, “I’m gonna kill you. I feel like killing you. You made me lose everything, you can leave this world. Call the police because I’m gonna kill you.”

He also told her: “I’m sick of you. Women is my problem,” the officer wrote in the report.

Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, of Elizabeth, have been identified by law enforcement as the two people who entered a kosher market with high-powered rifles on Tuesday and opened fire, killing three people. Earlier, the pair ambushed veteran Jersey City police Detective Joseph Seals in a Jersey City cemetery, police have said.

The pair may also be responsible for the murder of a man in Bayonne, investigators have said.

SWAT team members killed Anderson and Graham Wednesday afternoon, following a firefight lasting several hours.

Court records show Anderson was arrested in Jersey City as early as 2003, when he was charged with unlawful possession of an air-spring pistol. He was sentenced the following year to three years of probation and then re-arrested after violating probation, court records show.

In April 2011, Anderson was again arrested in Kent, Ohio after a dispute erupted involving 15-20 people who were drinking alcohol and playing cards, according to a police report.

Police ran a records check on Anderson and found that he had a warrant for weapons offenses in Hudson County that required “full extradition” to New Jersey, according to the report.

“Anderson was completely cooperative and detained,” police wrote in the report.

Anderson’s ex-wife, identified only as “Kathleen,” told CNN by phone on Wednesday that her husband was never violent with her.

“That was not the David I knew,” she told CNN. Kathleen, who asked that her last name not be used, said the man she married in 2000 was outgoing, attentive and funny. They served together in the military.

Records from The Pentagon show Anderson served in the Army reserves from September 1999 to September 2003 and worked repairing fuel and electrical systems. At the time of his discharge, Anderson was in the Hudson County Jail, according to court records.

In a press conference on Thursday, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said the market murders are being investigated as a hate crime and an act of domestic terror.

“We believe the suspects held views that reflected hatred of Jewish people as well as law enforcement,” Grewal said. “The evidence points toward acts of hate. We’re investigating this as a potential act of terrorism fueled by anti-Semitic and anti-law enforcement beliefs.”

On Friday, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said he believes the shooters had another target in mind but were killed before they could achieve their mission.

“My opinion is that as more info comes out it’ll become increasingly clear that the target was the 50 children at the Yeshiva attached to that store,” Fulop tweeted. “We will never know 100% but the doorway to the yeshiva was 3 feet away.”


© 2019 NJ Advance Media Group