The person accused of getting into the house of a New York rabbi and stabbing 5 individuals with a machete, in a horrifying Saturday evening assault labeled an anti-Semitic act of “home terrorism,” pleaded not responsible to a number of costs Sunday.
Carrying a white jumpsuit, Grafton E. Thomas, 37, of Greenwood Lake, N.Y., appeared on the Ramapo City Corridor in Ramapo, N.Y., Sunday morning, going through 5 counts of tried homicide and one depend of housebreaking.
Bail was set at $5 million.
Police stated Thomas allegedly entered the house of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, a suburb north of New York Metropolis, throughout a Hanukkah celebration — the most recent in a string of anti-Semitic incidents in current weeks that included beatings of Jewish individuals within the streets of New York Metropolis and a bloodbath at a kosher grocery retailer in Jersey Metropolis, N.J.
Thomas sped away from the stabbing scene however later was captured within the Harlem neighborhood of New York Metropolis. He had blood throughout his clothes and smelled of bleach, in accordance with prosecutors.
One individual was very severely wounded and remained in crucial situation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo advised reporters. The rabbi’s son was additionally injured; his standing and that of the opposite victims weren’t clear.
Investigators haven’t offered a motive for the assault, however Cuomo stated it was an instance of bigger issues.
“That is an illiberal time in our nation,” he stated to reporters outdoors the rabbi’s dwelling on Sunday morning. “We see anger, we see hatred exploding.”
The governor added: “It’s an American most cancers on the physique politic.” He continued, “That is violence spurred by hate, it’s mass violence and I take into account this an act of home terrorism.”
Police stated the stabbings unfolded at round 10 p.m. A witness noticed the suspect driving off and alerted police to the license plate quantity, Brad Weidel, the police chief in Ramapo, which covers Monsey, stated. That allowed police to seek out his car as he entered New York Metropolis, the place police apprehended.
“I used to be praying for my life,” Aron Kohn, 65, who was inside the home on the time, advised The New York Occasions. “He began attacking individuals immediately as quickly as he got here within the door. We did not have time to react in any respect.”
Among the many teams condemning the assault was the Republican Jewish Coalition.
“The political management in New York is not doing practically sufficient to guard its Jewish residents,” the group wrote on Twitter. “This has grow to be a every day prevalence in NY. These assaults won’t be a handy speaking level for these on the left, however they nonetheless want to talk out.”
Monsey – a city of about 18,000 residents some 35 miles north of New York Metropolis – had seen a earlier assault simply final month, when a 30-year-old man on his approach to morning prayers was overwhelmed and stabbed, The Journal News of Rockland County reported.
In New York Metropolis, the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau stated it was “intently monitoring” Saturday’s assault in Monsey, and the Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey stated it was conscious of the assault and was sending representatives to the city.
Messages posted later by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council of the Hudson Valley stated that 5 individuals had been stabbed, together with one sufferer who was struck six instances, and that two of the victims had been in crucial situation. That message added that the suspect had been seen leaving in a grey Nissan Sentra car.
Letitia James, the state legal professional basic of New York, condemned the assault in a message posted on Twitter.
“I’m deeply disturbed by the scenario unfolding in Monsey, New York tonight,” James wrote. “There’s zero tolerance for acts of hate of any variety and we’ll proceed to watch this horrific scenario.
New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio additionally posted on Twitter round midnight Sunday.
“Horrific,” de Blasio wrote. “So many Jewish households in our metropolis have shut ties to Monsey. We can not overstate the concern persons are feeling proper now.
“I’ve spoken to longtime pals who, for the primary time of their lives, are fearful to point out outward indicators of their Jewish religion,” he added.
“I’ve spoken to longtime pals who, for the primary time of their lives, are fearful to point out outward indicators of their Jewish religion.”
Additionally earlier Saturday, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., wrote on Twitter that “feckless management” in New York Metropolis was partly responsible for the wave of anti-Semitism there.
“The violent anti-Semitic assaults in NYC are being attributable to uncooked hate, feckless management, a tradition of acceptance, schooling & promotion of anti-Semitism, & decreasing high quality of life,” Zeldin, from town’s Lengthy Island suburbs, wrote.
“De Blasio & ALL elected and group leaders must step as much as confront & crush this menace.”