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Man arrested on weapons charge in probe of Jersey City shooting

Police at the scene of the shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City. (Lloyd Mitchell/Reuters)

The FBI on Saturday arrested a New Jersey man on a weapons charge after investigators said they found a note with his phone number and the address of a family-owned pawnshop on one of the gunman who attacked a kosher grocery in Jersey City.

Searches of Ahmed A-Hady’s home and the store in Keyport, N.J., turned up a cache of ammunition and guns, including three “AR-15-style assault rifles” similar to one of the weapons used in the attack, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

Officials did not definitively link A-Hady to the shooting but said the searches were “connected to one of the perpetrators.”

The 35-year-old was charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and was slated to appear before a judge in Newark on Monday. Attorney information for A-Hady was not immediately available.

The arrest broadens the web of possible connections that authorities are examining as they investigate the Tuesday rampage, which officials are treating as a potential act of domestic terrorism and a targeted attack on Jersey City’s Jewish community. Authorities said the two shooters expressed interest in the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a collection of groups unaffiliated with mainstream Judaism whose members often preach anti-Semitism.

The assailants began the attack at a cemetery in the southwestern part of Jersey City, fatally shooting veteran police detective Joseph Seals. They then stormed the nearby JC Kosher Supermarket, gunning down co-owner Mindy Ferencz, employee Douglas Miguel Rodriguez and customer Moshe Deutsch.

After an hours-long gun battle with police, the bodies of the shooters — David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50 — were found among the wreckage.

The pair were armed with a 12-gauge shotgun, two semiautomatic handguns, a .22-caliber handgun and an AR-15 rifle. Officials said Graham legally purchased the .22-caliber handgun and the shotgun in Ohio in 2018, but they did not disclose how she and Anderson obtained the other weapons.

At the scene, investigators found a handwritten note in Anderson’s back pocket containing a phone number and the address for the Keyport pawnshop, according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

The FBI quickly traced the information back to A-Hady. After interviewing him and two of his relatives, agents searched the store and A-Hady’s residence, finding six rifles, a shotgun and three handguns, according to the complaint. They also allegedly found 400 rounds of ammunition, including a “large number” of hollow point bullets.

Authorities said A-Hady had legally purchased one of the handguns, a .44-caliber Smith and Wesson, in June 2007 but was no longer allowed to own firearms because of a 2012 drug-related conviction. During his interview, they said, A-Hady “admitted to owning” that gun and another weapon “but falsely denied that they were on the premises.”

A-Hady faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to A-Hady as the owner of the pawnshop.