A masked man wielding a machete barged into a Hanukkah celebration and stabbed five people at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, on Saturday night.
The suspect escaped the scene but was quickly apprehended by cops. Law enforcement sources identified him as Grafton Thomas, 37, who has several previous arrests on his record, including one for punching a police horse.
Thomas was turned over to the state police and will face five counts of attempted murder.
This latest attack is intensifying fears of anti-Semitic violence after a spate of incidents last week.
According to Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel, a man covering his face with a scarf knocked on Rabbi Rottenburg’s door during the seventh night of Hanukkah just as the rabbi was lighting the candle.
The man who answered the door told cops the assailant rushed past him pulling out a machete as he began stabbing people.
Several eyewitnesses said he chased terrified guests around as they tried to flee and gain access to an adjacent synagogue. The suspect fled the scene after several people through chairs and a table at him.
Ramapo Town Police now have the suspect in custody. He reportedly escaped the scene but was arrested in Harlem after being tracked down through his license plate number.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the stabbings a “cowardly act” and directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate the incident.