NYPD boosts security after France school shooting

March 20, 2012 4:07:08 AM PDT
The NYPD is beefing up security at Jewish institutions around New York City after the murders of a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in France.

The gunman, on a motorbike, opened fire in front of the Ozar Hatorah School in Toulouse. He killed 30-year-old Jonathan Sandler, a rabbi who taught at the school, and his sons, 4-year-old Gabriel and 5-year-old Arieh, while they waited for a bus to a Jewish primary school across town.

As the shots rang out, panicked students darted inside the school grounds and the attacker chased them, witnesses said. At one point, he grabbed the principal's 7-year-old daughter, Miriam Monsonego, by her hair, shot her in the head and fled.

A 17-year-old boy was also seriously wounded.

Now, from New York to California, police are rolling out extra security for synagogues, Jewish centers and schools. There is no specific threat, but the measures are being taken out of an abundance of caution.

"We have to be concerned about what happens overseas," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said. "We have a significant Jewish population in the city, and we have to take into account we know that we're at the top of the terrorist target list, so we're concerned about so-called copycat syndrome."

The tragedy brought an outpouring of emotion during the night in France. It was the third time in 10 days that a gunman on a motorcycle had fired on minorities in the southwest region of that country.

"It's not unrealistic to expect that we need to have protection around Jewish schools," New York City Councilman Mike Nelson said.

The NYPD has extra manpower at more than 50 sites across the city, a move getting strong support.

Community leaders who gathered to support the extra precautions went the extra mile, giving strong support to the sometimes embattled police commissioner.

"Those who have criticized him undermine the security of this city," state Assemblyman Dov Hikind said. "And as far as I'm concerned, my opinion, they should be ashamed of themselves."

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