Shots fired outside of New York synagogue hours ahead of first night of Hanukkah

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, December 7, 2023
Shots fired outside of NY synagogue ahead of first night of Hannukah
Governor Kathy Hochul gave an update on the shooting Thursday evening.

ALBANY, New York (WABC) -- Shots were fired outside of a temple in Albany Thursday afternoon.

A 28-year-old resident is in custody after allegedly firing one round in the parking lot of Temple Israel around 2 p.m.

The local was walking around, "acting very suspiciously," before firing the shot, according to officials.

The incident happened as many Jewish people across the country are on high alert two months after Hamas first launched attacks on Israel. Additionally, the shots were fired just hours before the first night of Hanukkah began at sundown on Thursday.

There were no reports of any injuries. The 28-year-old who allegedly fired the shots was taken into police custody.

Officials say there are no threats to the public at this time, but there will be heightened security across the state for the next week.

"I am immediately directing the New York State Police and New York National Guard to be on high alert and increase the existing patrols of at-risk sites we had planned for the Hanukkah holiday, including at synagogues, yeshivas and community centers, and working closely with local law enforcement," said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. "This builds on the significant efforts we have taken to protect religious communities in the wake of the October 7 attacks. Make no mistake: the safety of Jewish New Yorkers is non-negotiable."

Law enforcement says this is not being reviewed as a terrorist incident.

The person in custody allegedly made "threatening statements" at the time of the shooting. Hochul declined to elaborate, but a law enforcement official says witnesses reported hearing the man yell "Free Palestine."

Officials say the individual in custody appears to have exhibited an anti-Jewish or anti-Israel bias in the past, which they are looking into. Hochul said the man has prior arrests, but declined to elaborate.

"Any act of antisemitism is unacceptable, and undermining public safety at a synagogue on the first night of Hanukkah is even more deplorable. As New Yorkers, we must stand united: this is not who we are. We reject hate, antisemitism and violence in all forms. And we have no tolerance for the forces of evil who are trying to tear our communities apart," said Hochul

The synagogue's preschool was in session at the time the shots were fired and was locked down.

St. Peter's Hospital and St. Peter's Nursing and Rehabilitation Center nearby were also locked down out of an abundance of caution. The lockdowns have since been lifted.

Hochul will attend services at Temple Israel in Albany Friday night and said she will be going to the world's largest menorah outside the Plaza Hotel tonight

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