(JPUpdates) The NYPD is investigating assaults on two Orthodox Jewish men in the Kew Gardens Hills section of Queens, New York, as a possible pattern of hate crime incidents, NYPD officials told JP.
The first incident happened ten days ago on Friday night when a 28-year-old Orthodox Jewish man, who was walking home from synagogue in the evening, was hit with what investigators believe was a BB gun in his back. He was later treated by a private doctor for his injuries, cops said.
The second incident happened last Friday morning when a 25-year-old man, also walking to synagogue, was hit in his left leg with similar wounds as the first victim.
Both assaults happened on 150th street between 75th and 73th.
The dates, the location and the nature of the victims led detectives to the assaults are bias-related, police said. They also believe the suspect used either a BB or a paintball gun.
Detectives were canvassing the area to try to find surveillance video that will help them get a clear description of the suspect. Meanwhile, police have stepped up patrol in the area.
These incidents come at a time when Jews around the world observe the High Holy holidays; the first assault happened just 2 days before Rosh Hashanah and the second assault happened 4 days before Yom Kippur.
“I was deeply disturbed to learn that two Jewish victims were hit by BB guns in Kew Gardens Hills. The NYPD is appropriately investigating these incidents as potential anti-Semitic hate crimes,” said Council Member Rory Lancman said in a statement. “I would like to thank the NYPD for responding to these incidents in a swift and appropriate manner. My office is in contact with the Police Department to ensure that the security concerns of our community are addressed, particularly during the upcoming holidays.”
Assembly Member Michael Simanowitz added, “We live in a community that should celebrate and be proud of our diversity. Acts of bigotry will not be tolerated or go unpunished. I am confident that all perpetrators will be brought to justice, ending a recent string of shameful crimes.”