Gunshots rang out at Temple Israel synagogue in Albany, New York, on the first day of Hanukkah. A suspect is in custody.
Gunfire disrupted the calm at Temple Israel synagogue in Albany as shots were fired on the grounds just hours before the beginning of Hanukkah. A 28-year-old man was swiftly detained in connection with the incident.
Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins revealed that the suspect fired two shotgun blasts near a staircase outside the synagogue. Fortunately, no one was injured, and no buildings sustained damage. The suspect reportedly uttered the phrase “Free Palestine” to both a bystander and responding officers.
Governor Kathy Hochul, emphasizing the non-negotiable safety of Jewish New Yorkers, condemned the act of antisemitism, especially on the auspicious first night of Hanukkah. She assured the community that the state would exert all efforts to restore a sense of security.
“Make no mistake: The safety of Jewish New Yorkers is non-negotiable,” Hochul said. “Any act of antisemitism is unacceptable, and undermining public safety at a synagogue on the first night of Hanukkah is even more deplorable.”
Following the gunfire, the suspect walked away from the synagogue and encountered a bystander driving down the street. After a brief interaction, the suspect dropped the shotgun, leading to his detainment by arriving officers.
As watchdog groups report a surge in antisemitism and Islamophobia since the October 7th attack by Hamas fighters on Israel, this incident is being investigated as a potential hate crime. The governor promptly elevated the alert status of New York State Police and the New York National Guard.
Rabbi Wendy Anderson of Temple Israel, undeterred by the darkness of the incident, stated that after the press conference, they would be lighting Hanukkah candles. The community seeks solace in the symbolism of light amid a troubling event that unfolded on what should have been a joyous occasion.