Synagogue worshipers hit with water guns, anti-Semitic slurs in New Jersey

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Friday, July 19, 2019
Synagogue worshipers hit with water guns, anti-Semitic slurs in New Jersey
Anthony Johnson reports on a possible hate crime committed against synagogue worshippers in New Jersey.

TEANECK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Three people are being questioned after police say a group used water pistols to spray worshipers outside a New Jersey synagogue last week, hurling anti-Semitic slurs when they were asked to stop.

The incident, being investigated as a possible hate crime, happened just before 9 p.m. on Friday, July 12, as worshipers left Young Israel of Teaneck.

Deputy Mayor Elie Katz posted on Facebook that the suspects were in a silver Honda Accord, taking videos and shooting water guns at people walking out of the prayer service.

Katz said the unknown liquid was dark and was shocking to the victims.

The suspects later came back for a second wave of spraying from their water guns. One person got a good look at the license plate and told police.

Katz said Teaneck police identified three of the four individuals involved, and that they are not minors.

"There is an ongoing investigation," Katz said. "The police will be working with the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office to determine how this should be classified and any relevant charges."

"I never understood bigotry of any sort," said Teaneck resident Helene Stein. "I just don't get it, it's not something that I can wrap my head around."

Teaneck is a town with 60 houses of worship. Many are synagogues but there is also a large mosque and a variety of churches, spread throughout a diverse town.

"I'm disturbed, not only because it's close to my house but because it happens anywhere," said neighbor Roswell Jackson. "I think that's very unfortunate."

Extra security will be in place at local synagogues for upcoming services as another layer of protection due to the incident.

UPDATE: Police Chief Glenn M. O'Reilly announced the arrests of 21-year-old Matthew Davis, 23-year-old Michael Davis, and 21-year-old Tyrell Culver, all of Teaneck, all charged with harassment.


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