Thursday, August 11, 2022

Hanukkah stabbing suspect pleads not guilty to attempted murder

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A suspect appeared in a New York court on Sunday charged with five counts of attempted murder after a stabbing spree at a rabbi’s suburban house that left Hanukkah celebrants throwing furniture to defend themselves.

Grafton Thomas, 37, allegedly entered the property in Monsey, Rockland County, during celebrations on Saturday evening for the Jewish Hanukkah festival, knifing several people with a machete before fleeing.

US media reported that the suspect was covered in blood when officers detained him.

Thomas was ordered held in custody after appearing in Ramapo Town Court, where he denied the charges.

The attack at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg was quickly condemned as another incident underscoring growing anti-Semitic violence in the United States.

President Donald Trump tweeted that Americans “must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters at the scene on Sunday that “these are people who intend to create mass harm, mass violence — generate fear based on race, color, creed.”

The New York Times quoted Taleea Collins, a friend of the suspect, and his pastor Wendy Paige, as saying the suspect had struggled with mental illness.

No official details were released about the victims. Local media said one person was seriously injured.

Thomas was reportedly arrested in his car about 30 miles (50 kilometers) away, two hours after the attack.

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