Police have identified the suspect in a mass stabbing in Monsey, New York. His name is Grafton E. Thomas, 37, cops said in an Associated Press report. He is from Greenwood Lake, New York, which is in the county north of Monsey.
The Ramapo Police Department said he was scheduled for an arraignment 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.
“There will be no video or audio recording permitted in the courtroom,” they wrote.
Police Chief Brad Weidel said that the defendant will face five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary, according to the AP. Thomas pleaded not guilty, and bail was set at $5 million.
Officials said the suspect was arrested down in New York City’s 32nd Precinct.
Thomas intruded at a rabbi’s home Saturday night while victims were celebrating Hanukkah, officials say. He was allegedly armed with a weapon that has been described as a either a large knife, or machete. Witness Aron Kohn, 65, said that it was “about the size of a broomstick,” according to The New York Times. He said that the attacker left the scene, and tried to get into the synagogue next door, but the people inside had locked it.
Though the alleged motive remains publicly unknown, the incident follows a spate of high-profile, allegedly anti-Semitic murders and attacks in the region. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke to these fears in a statement early Sunday.
I am horrified by the stabbing of multiple people at a synagogue in Rockland County tonight.
We have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism in NY and we will hold the attacker accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
NY stands with the Jewish community. pic.twitter.com/JILUoFXJc9
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 29, 2019
“This was a despicable and cowardly act, and I am directing the State Police hate crimes task force to immediately investigate and to use every tool available to hold the attacker accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” he wrote.
Edit: Updated to show that Thomas pleaded not guilty, and bail was set at $5 million.
[Screengrab via CBS New York]
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