What to Know
- Authorities arrested a pawn shop worker Saturday and are looking at a connection with the Jersey City shootings Tuesday
- His phone number was found in the pocket of suspected shooter David Anderson
- The shop worker, a convicted felon who had multiple guns at the shop, now faces weapons-related charges
The brother of 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 denied any connection to the suspects, as well as allegations that they sell guns at their family's pawn shop.
Ahmed A-Hady, of Keyport, 35, appeared in court Monday after he was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm; a magistrate judge denied him bail. However, A-Hady hasn't been charged with providing any of the weapons used in Tuesday's bloody rampage in Jersey City.
"[Ahmed] doesn't know what's going on and it's pretty much a whole bunch of bad luck on why his number was and this address here was in one of the shooter's pockets," A-Hady's brother, Adham, told NBC New York.
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David Anderson and Francine 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 to kill three civilians and Det. Joseph Seals were bought by Graham in Ohio last year, police have said. It's not known where they got the three other guns.
On Sunday, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop appeared to address gun control on Twitter, saying that it would help if AR-15s weren't so easy to obtain.
"These weapons were never built for sport or hunting. They’re killing machines + always part of the narrative in mass shootings," Fulop wrote.
After the shootout, police found a note in Anderson's pocket containing a telephone number and a Keyport address that led them to A-Hady and his family's pawn shop in Keyport, according to authorities.
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 found weapons including three AR-15-style assault rifles, three handguns and one shotgun.
When officials searched A-Hady's home, they found more than 400 rounds of ammunition, prosecutors said.
Adham told NBC New York that the guns legally belong to his parents. "We had them locked up in the safe. They came and conducted a search and said they were too close to my brother, that he shouldn't be around them, which he wasn't. They're locked up separate from his place of living," Adham said.
Authorities on Saturday also 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.
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.
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.
This story has been updated to reflect the correct relationship between the arrested individual and the pawn shop's owners