Cuomo says he'll propose domestic terror law to combat 'poison' of hate
As the Hudson Valley reels from a stabbing attack that wounded five people Saturday at a rabbi's home in Monsey, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the ambush was fueled by intolerance and a “cancer” of hatred growing in America.
The governor visited the site of the attack Sunday and met with Jewish leaders in the community before holding a news briefing with police and other officials.
Cuomo said Saturday's violence marked the 13th anti-Semitic attack in New York since Dec. 8 and endemic of "an American cancer on the body politic.”
“This is violence spurred by hate, it is mass violence and I consider this an act of domestic terrorism,” Cuomo said. “Let's call it what it is.”
Cuomo says police patrols would be boosted, but said that laws must change to address the scourge of intolerance.
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"I want this state to be the first state to have a domestic terrorism law to express how ignorant this is, how intolerant it is and how criminal it is. And I'll be proposing that law for this state," he said at Sunday's news conference. "We're not going to allow this poison to spread throughout our state because it is a poison... Government must take the lead and New York state will."
Investigators say the suspect, 37-year-old Grafton Thomas, fled the scene after the stabbing attack but was apprehended in Harlem. He's charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary at this time.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered held on $5 million bail at his arraignment Sunday in Ramapo Town Court.
The stabbings came on the seventh night of Hanukkah, around around 10 p.m. Saturday at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, located next door to his Congregation Netzach Yisroel synagogue. The large house on Forshay Road remained cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape Sunday.
Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.