BOSTON (AP) – A man suspected of repeatedly stabbing a rabbi near a Boston Jewish day school was held without bail Friday on arraignment pending a hearing to determine whether it represents a danger to society.
Khaled Awad, 24, has pleaded not guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a policeman in connection with the knife attack on Thursday afternoon of Rabbi Shlomo Noginski in the Brighton district .
The lawyer who represented Awad on Friday could not be reached for comment. The number of Awad, from Brighton, could not be found.
The hearing to determine if he constitutes a danger is scheduled for July 8. Awad has no criminal record in Massachusetts, but was charged with assault and battery and theft in Florida and was sent to a mental health facility, prosecutors said.
The motive for the stabbing attack is still unclear and the police are still investigating. District Attorney Rachael Rollins said during a vigil on behalf of Noginksi on Friday that her office had opened a civil rights investigation to determine whether the stabbing was a hate crime.
“We have to recognize that anti-Semitism is on the rise, and we have to hold people accountable when they do so, so that they become an example,” Rollins said at the vigil near the stabbing site. , in the presence of several hundred people. people.
The suspect approached the rabbi with a gun and knife as he spoke on the phone, sitting on the school steps, according to prosecutors and Rabbi Dan Rodkin, executive director of Shaloh House. The suspect reportedly demanded the keys to the rabbi’s car, and Noginski ran across the street to a park where he was stabbed.
According to court documents, when police located the suspect, he pointed what appeared to be a gun at them. Three police officers drew their guns and ordered the suspect to drop his gun on several occasions, authorities said. The suspect then lowered his gun and threw it to the ground.
The suspect kicked one of the officers in the stomach as he was helped to board a transport vehicle for reservation, police said.
As soon as the school learned of the stabbing, the facility was closed and no child was ever in danger, Rodkin said in a Facebook post.
Noginski is an Israeli citizen who came to the Boston area as an emissary to spread the Chabad message, Israel’s consul general in New England Meron Reuben told the Boston Herald.
“We are horrified by what happened,” Reuben said.
Noginski, who spoke to Lubavitch.com from his hospital bed, has since been released from the hospital.
“I am grateful to the Boston Police Department for their quick response and relieved that the assailant is in custody. I can’t wait to get back to my job as soon as possible, ”he said.
Some who attended Friday’s vigil held in constant rain believe the stabbing was a hate crime.
“I don’t think there is a member of our Jewish community who hasn’t heard of those stab wounds and said to himself, ‘Oh my God, this happened here in Boston’,” he said. said Marc Baker, president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
The attack on the rabbi was an attack on the whole town, Acting Mayor Kim Janey said: “I think an attack on a member of our community is an attack on all of us.”