Another suburban New York /New Jersey religious attack….
Five people where injured…
When he was caught, the intruder was still covered in the blood of his victims — five Hasidic Jews he had stabbed wildly with a machete at a rabbi’s home while candles on the Hanukkah menorah still burned.
But the toll might have been worse had those assembled not fought back, hitting the intruder with pieces of furniture, forcing him to retreat.
He had concealed his face with a scarf when he burst into the home in this Hasidic community in the New York suburbs at about 10 p.m. on Saturday, the police and witnesses said.
“At the beginning, he started wielding his machete back and forth, trying to hit everyone around,” said Josef Gluck, 32, who was at the home of the Hasidic rabbi, Chaim Rottenberg, for the celebration of the seventh night of Hanukkah.
Mr. Gluck said the assailant screamed at him, “Hey you, I’ll get you” during the attack.
In terror, people fled the living room. Mr. Gluck recalled dashing into the kitchen, scooping up a small child and then going down a back porch. Mr. Gluck returned, saw an older victim bleeding heavily and then tried to confront the attacker.
“I grabbed an old antique coffee table and I threw it at his face,” Mr. Gluck said.
The suspect, Grafton Thomas, 38, was later arrested in Harlem after police traced his license plate using a photo Mr. Gluck had taken of Mr. Thomas’s car as he fled the scene.
The police have not disclosed a motive, and much about Mr. Thomas remained a mystery on Sunday, including why he chose the rabbi’s house. But Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo referred to the rampage as an “act of domestic terrorism.”
Late on Sunday afternoon, two family friends of Mr. Thomas said he had struggled with mental illness, and they insisted that was at the root of the attack.
The violence further traumatized the Jewish community in the New York region, coming after a string of anti-Semitic incidents in recent weeks. It occurred less than a month after an anti-Semitic mass shooting at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, N.J., left three people dead, including two Hasidic Jews….