Douglas Miguel Rodriguez Barzola was tragically shot and killed on Tuesday during the Jersey City shootings that claimed the lives of 6 people, he was 49. He is survived by his wife and 11-year-old daughter.
Rodriguez was shot and killed during a police standoff when two black-clad shooters, who have been identified as David Anderson and Francine Graham, launched a full-scale assault on a kosher bodega and ended up murdering six people.
The suspects claimed the lives of three police officers including Jersey City police detective Joseph Seals and three civilians: Rodriguez and two members of the local Orthodox community, Leah Minda Ferencz, 33, who co-owns the bodega with her husband, and her cousin Moshe Hirsch Deutsh, 24.
According to NBC News, Anderson made anti-semitic and anti-police statements on social media prior to the attack. Sources told NBC News that Anderson was a former member of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, whose members believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites. Investigators are looking to see if it was Anderson himself who posted the anti-semitic material.
The New York Times reported that police found guns, ammunition and a live pipe bomb in a stolen U-Haul truck Anderson and Graham were driving at the time of the shootings. Investigators also found a “brief and rambling” manifesto-style note in the van. The killers’ motives are still under investigation.
Jersey City Chief Michael Kelly said in a news conference that police received a call of shots fired on the afternoon of December 10, 2019. When they responded, they were “immediately engaged by high-power rifle fire.” At the same time, they learned that Detective Joseph Seals, a Cease Fire unit officer known for removing guns off the streets, “was down in another part of the city.”
Kelly described the crime scene as “very extensive and is at three locations at least. We have one stolen U-Haul vehicle that may contain an incendiary device. It’s being examined by the bomb squad. We have five people DOA inside the store. We believe two of them are bad guys, and we believe three of them are not and may be civilians who were inside the store,” he said.
According to Kelly, the deceased Seals was a married father of five. “We called for mutual aid from our partners – FBI, Port Authority, all surrounding municipalities, ATF. At that time, we set up a tactical advantage. Continued to take gunfire for hours. Two more police officers were hit by gunfire. One sustained an injury to the shoulder. One sustained an injury to the body,” he said.
However, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop later tweeted about the incident, “Based on our initial investigation (which is ongoing) we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked. Due to an excess of caution the community may see additional police resources in the days/weeks ahead. We have no indication there are any further threats.”
The mayor added, “We have been in close contact with the Jewish community in #JerseyCity to help where we can. While we work through details/investigation of today’s incident I know the entire Jersey City community stands together with the Jewish Community during these challenging times.”
Rodriguez was living in Harrison, New Jersey, with his wife and daughter and working at the JC Kosher Supermarket at the time of the attack.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Douglas Miguel Rodriguez Barsola Emigrated from Ecuador Three Years Ago & a GoFundMe Has Been Set Up for His Family
Douglas Miguel Rodriguez Barzola
Williams Machazek, the pastor of Iglesia Nueva Vida in Newark where Rodriguez was a congregant, told Northjersey.com that Rodriguez emigrated from Ecuador three years ago.
He had been working at the JC Kosher Supermarket for about a year in order to support his wife and 11-year-old daughter.
His niece created a GoFundMe for his family that has been confirmed as legitimate.
“This page is created to help the family of my uncle, victim of the Jersey City shooting, Douglas Rodriguez. Douglas Rodriguez came to this country for better life with his wife and daughter. He was a devoted husband, friend, and father, He was a God-loving, honest and hard-working person was who always available to help others. He had been working at the store for about a year before this devastating and unexpected loss. We would appreciate any help from the community to help his family cover funeral expenses. He was very much the provider in his family, so anything you can give will help his wife and daughter greatly. Thank you and God bless,” his niece wrote.
2. He Volunteered at the Local Church
Pastor Williams Machazek told Northkersey.com that Rodriguez regularly volunteered at the Iglesia Nueva Vida church in Newark, NJ. He donated his time whenever he could at the church, but did not always go to Sunday service because he often worked at the grocery store that day, Machazek said.
3. His Church is Raising Money to Send His Body Back to Ecuador
Machazek said Rodriguez’s wife is distraught and that his family is now raising funds to send Rodriguez’s body back to Ecuador. He said the Iglesia Nueva Vida church is trying to raise money and offering anything it can to them in this time of need.
“There is prayer, we are working toward helping them, and the entire church has risen,″ he said.
Machazek added that the anti-semitic nature of the crime came as a shock to him, as the local community doesn’t have any tension towards Jewish people. “Relations between the various groups in the neighborhood have been good,” he said. “There have never had problems with the neighbors. There’s media saying they were targeted directly. But obviously this is shocking and scary but they don’t feel anti-Semitism in that part of the community. They never had any problem so this was a shock to them.”
4. He Has Been described as an ‘Excellent Person’
Machazek commented on Rodriguez’s passing, saying “He was an excellent person,’’ and adding, “He really looked out for his family, and they were inseparable. He was very active in the church.”
5. The Local Community and Jewish Community Have Sent Rodriguez’s Family Their Condolensces
Rodriguez is being mourned by the congregants at his church and members of the local community. “Our hearts break for our four neighbors—Detective Joseph Seals, Moshe Deutsch, Mindel Ferencz, and Miguel Jason Rodriguez—murdered yesterday in an unspeakable act of violence.” New Jersey resident James Solomon wrote on Twitter. “The reports that the murderers targeted our Jewish brothers and sisters deepens our grief.”
The Jewish news site Matzav.com reported his death and added, “May his family be comforted at this trying time.”