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 BlasioWoman loses her job after viral video shows her calling police on black birdwatcher in Central Park Woman apologizes after video goes viral of her calling police on black birdwatcher in Central Park De Blasio: 2 million people in New York City face food insecurity amid pandemic MORE (D) has deployed additional police patrols to several Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLawmakers introduce bill to invest 0 billion in science, tech research The Democrats' out-party advantage in 2020 Democratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies 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.