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Jersey City Residents Are Still Reeling Following Deadly Hate Crime


New Jersey authorities are working to reassure citizens after last week's shooting at a kosher supermarket. The state attorney general says the two attackers were fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs. Here's NPR's Jeff Brady.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: New Jersey governor Phil Murphy was on radio, TV and at events like this interfaith roundtable in Jersey City talking about diversity.


PHIL MURPHY: We are in the most diverse American state, we are in the most diverse county of the most diverse American state, and we are in the most diverse city in that county in that state.

BRADY: Sometimes that diversity has led to conflict in Jersey City, but Murphy said diversity is a point of pride. He took that message to Mt. Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church Sunday.


UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I mean, if you're really happy to be alive, I dare you to give God some praise.

BRADY: After the choir led the congregation in a song, the pastor introduced Murphy, who said that while last Tuesday's attack was directed at Jews and police, it was an act of hate that hurt everyone.


MURPHY: We are all the sons and daughters of God. When one of us comes under attack, we all come under attack.


BRADY: New Jersey Assemblywoman Angela McKnight represents this area and asked Murphy to address the church.

ANGELA MCKNIGHT: It's great to have him here at a black church talking to the black community.

BRADY: McKnight says a black family lives above the kosher market that was attacked. The mother and her 3-year-old daughter were home. One daughter was across the street at a Catholic school.

MCKNIGHT: And then she has another daughter that was locked down in the public school system. So she matters. They matter. We all matter.

BRADY: Church members visited the family after the service. Jersey City Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey also attended the service at Mt. Pisgah AME Sunday.

MIRA PRINZ-AREY: We're here to hold each other up during this very, very difficult time.

BRADY: What has the last five - what is it, five days now? - been like for you?

PRINZ-AREY: Long - tiring but also very inspiring to see the generosity and love that the residents here have for each other.

BRADY: I can tell you're about to cry.

PRINZ-AREY: Yeah. That's OK. You know?

BRADY: Less than a mile away at the Jersey City kosher market, the storefront is boarded up, and people have left flowers along the sidewalk. Meantime, the investigation into the two shooters continues. According to a criminal complaint filed Saturday, investigators found a handwritten note with a phone number in the right rear pants pocket of one of the shooters. The number was traced to a pawnshop in Keyport, N.J., about 35 miles south of Jersey City. The FBI arrested the pawnshop owner, Ahmed A-Hady. He's expected before a federal judge today. He is charged with being a felon in possession of firearms. After a search of his home and business, investigators found six rifles, three handguns, a shotgun and over 400 rounds of ammunition. He's not been charged with supplying guns used in the attack. The FBI says it's also examining a second van recovered Saturday that may be connected to the case.

Jeff Brady, NPR News, Jersey City.

(SOUNDBITE OF BRAMBLES' "TO SPEAK OF SOLITUDE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jeff Brady is a National Desk Correspondent based in Philadelphia, where he covers energy issues, climate change and the mid-Atlantic region. Brady helped establish NPR's environment and energy collaborative which brings together NPR and Member station reporters from across the country to cover the big stories involving the natural world.