Federal hate crime charges filed against NY Hanukkah stabbing suspect

Federal hate crimes charges were filed Monday against the man accused of stabbing five people Saturday in the home of a New York rabbi during a Hanukkah celebration, according to an ABC News affiliate.

Authorities reportedly found anti-Semitic rhetoric in suspect Grafton Thomas’s journals and on his phone, including drawings of swastikas, references to Nazism and an internet search for “German Jewish Temples near me.”

Police arrested Thomas in Manhattan on Saturday night after he allegedly fled the scene of the attack in Monsey, a heavily Orthodox Jewish community in New York. An automated license plate reader indicated the car that left the scene had crossed the George Washington Bridge about an hour after the stabbing. Thomas has also been charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary, to which he has pleaded not guilty.


Thomas has no criminal convictions, according to a lawyer who represented him at his arraignment. In a statement, Thomas’s family said he has been hospitalized in connection with mental illness on multiple occasions.

“He has no history of like violent acts and no convictions for any crime. He has no known history of anti-Semitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races. He is not a member of any hate groups,” the statement reads.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who has described the attack as “domestic terrorism,” said one of the five stabbing victims is critically wounded, according to ABC7.

New York City has seen a spate of suspected anti-Semitic attacks in recent weeks, including a woman charged with slapping three women in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioOvernight Health Care: NYC reports uptick in COVID-19 cases as schools try to reopen | Global coronavirus death toll passes 1 million | Pelosi cites 'positive' talk with White House on coronavirus aid New York City reports uptick in COVID-19 cases as schools try to reopen Restaurants brace for long COVID-19 winter MORE (D) has deployed additional police patrols to several Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate Warren won't meet with Barrett, calling Trump's nomination an 'illegitimate power grab' Schumer won't meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick MORE (D-N.Y.) called on the FBI to investigate possible links between Saturday's attack and other recent incidents, although an official briefed on the investigation told ABC7 they do not believe Thomas is connected to the other attacks.

The attacks in New York City and Monsey occurred in the same month as a shooting at a Jersey City kosher market that killed three civilians and a police officer before the gunmen were killed.