A string of attacks that targeted synagogues across New York City over the weekend are being investigated as possible hate crimes, authorities said.
The six attacks from Friday to Sunday at Bronx-area synagogues are being investigated by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force. Surveillance footage released by police appears to show the same man may have been involved in several of the attacks and police are seeking him for questioning.
The attacks come amid a wave of violence across the country, including a spate of mass shootings and hate crimes that have targeted Asian Americans – including a Friday night incident in East Harlem in which a 61-year-old Chinese American was attacked from behind, knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the head, surveillance video showed.
Two of the New York City synagogue attacks happened Friday, three on Saturday and another on Sunday, NYPD Detective Denise Moroney said. Each happened late in the evening or in the early morning hours.
In each incident, police say a man broke windows at the synagogues. He was captured on surveillance footage wearing dark-colored clothing and hurling rocks at windows in at least one of the attacks.
The Riverdale Jewish Center was struck multiple times, and windows were also shattered at the Young Israel of Riverdale and the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale.
In a statement to USA TODAY, Riverdale Jewish Center said its leaders were working with law enforcement to ensure the safety of their facilities and help find the person responsible. Nobody was injured.
“The fact that someone would specifically and repeatedly target houses of worship is of great distress to us all,” the statement read. “An act of hate such as this is simply unacceptable.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemned the attacks.
“I was appalled,” he said. “We have no tolerance for discriminatory acts that seek to divide us rather than bring us together. I am directing the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to immediately offer assistance in the investigation being conducted by the NYPD. We stand with Jewish New Yorkers – an essential part of the fabric of our state – as we do with all victims of bigotry, and I look forward to seeing this investigation resolved quickly.”