One student is critically injured and his alleged assailant has been shot dead after a stabbing attack at a prominent Brooklyn synagogue early Tuesday morning.
The incident, which was partially recorded on video, took place around 1:40 a.m. at the Chabad-Lubavitch world headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
The 49-year-old man, who police haven’t identified, reportedly entered the synagogue and encountered a group of students. According to Crownheights.info, the man appeared “disturbed and was visibly agitated” and spoke with them for a few minutes, witnesses said. He asked them for a Bible, according to the New York Post.
“I want to kill the Jew,” the New York Daily News reported he screamed.
— WHNT (@whnt) December 9, 2014
He then pulled out a nine-inch knife and stabbed one of the students, a 22-year-old male, in his left temple. The student fled the synagogue seeking help as he bled. Friends told the Crown Heights news site that the student was from Israel.
“He’s a very serious student; he’d been studying all day,” Levi Deutsch, a witness, said according to the New York Post. “He was stabbed in the side of the head. He was conscious, but he was bleeding a lot.”
The student was transported to Kings County Hospital where he is listed in stable condition.
“Tell me if you want me to kill you,” the suspect demanded of the men from the synagogue who calmly surrounded him.
“No, no,” one person said.
When police arrived at the scene, they engaged in a standoff for several minutes. Officers pointed their guns at the man, ordering him to drop his weapon repeatedly as witness stood by watching, some begging him to comply.
According to the video of the incident posted by the New York Post and Crownheights.info, the man eventually complied and laid his knife on a nearby surface.
But as officers tried to arrest him, he rushed over to pick up the weapon again. It is unclear from the video what happened next, but as the man moved around the room in the direction of the officers, one of the officers shot the man once. The bullet struck his torso.
He was transported to Kings County Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead at around 3:15 a.m.
“While we are very pained by everything that has unfolded, we are very grateful to the police for their quick response and are working closely with the authorities in their ongoing investigation,” said Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Motti Seligson in a statement according to the Daily News. “We commend the heroic efforts of the individuals who were present and took immediate action. If not for their intervention, the outcome could have been, G-d forbid, far worse.”
“We continue to pray for the young man who is in stable condition,” he added.