A Jewish synagogue has come under attack from armed neo-Nazis in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan just before the midnight of November 18, 2022.
According to media reports, officers from the New York Police Department took 21-year-old Christopher Brown, a resident of Long Island, and 22-year-old Matthew Mahrer, a resident of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, into custody at Penn Station at 11:30 p.m. on the night, after investigators uncovered threats to Jewish houses of worship in New York City.
Police say they were alerted to the threats just half an hour before the arrests were made.
“On November 18 2022, at approximately 2200 hours the 70th Precinct Field Intelligence Team received information that the above listed individual has made recent threats to unknown Jewish Synagogues in the New York area”, the NYPD said in an intelligence alert on November 18.
“This individual has a history of mental illness and has recently expressed interest in traveling to NYC to purchase a firearm. The subject should be considered armed and dangerous”.
A joint task force of the FBI and NYPD had monitored Brown, who according to sources cited by The New York Post is a “diagnosed schizophrenic”.
A series of threats were made on Twitter, escalating on November 18, prompting authorities to intervene.
When Brown was taken into custody, he had in his possession a Nazi arm band, a ski mask, and a large hunting knife.
After Brown and Mahrer were arrested, police found a handgun at Mahrer’s Manhattan residence.
“This could have been a Pittsburgh Tree of Life situation, this could have been a Buffalo Tops supermarket type of situation, and thankfully it was averted”, Community Security Initiative executive director Mitchell Silber told CBS News.
“Yesterday morning, they detected an individual on Twitter who was talking about carrying out violent attacks against the Jewish synagogue non-specific in New York. We also got the threat from a few other organizations as well”.
Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the American Jewish community is under threat ‘from all sides’.
“From our perspective, we see the Jewish community getting it from all sides”.
Speaking of antisemitic extremism in response to a question from Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Wray noted that 63 percent of all religiously motivated violent extremism incidents in the United States were motivated by antisemitism, against a Jewish population that totals only 2.4 percent of the American public.