Gainesville Police Department officers have apprehended Geoffrey Lush, 50, on charges of property damage to a religious center and making a written threat in connection with antisemitic vandalism at the University of Florida’s Chabad Jewish Center. The incident involved a threatening voicemail received by UF Hillel on Nov. 23, followed by phrases like “burn in hell” and “child murderers” written on signs at the Lubavitch – Chabad Jewish Center & Community Center.

Who is Geoffrey Lush?

Detectives utilized surveillance footage to identify a white man, described as wearing a long trench coat with light-colored long hair, committing the vandalism. The phone number and email address used for the threatening messages were traced back to Geoffrey Lush. Authorities noted that Lush’s social media posts expressed similar beliefs, leading to his arrest.

Also Read: Who is John Turscak? Federal inmate charged with Derek Chauvin’s attempted murder

Geoffrey Lush is currently held on a $150,000 bond at the Alachua County Jail. The charges against him include property damage to a religious center and making a written threat. Lush’s arrest follows swift action by law enforcement to address the disturbing incident of antisemitic vandalism at the Chabad Jewish Center.

Chabad UF Response

Chabad UF expressed gratitude towards law enforcement for their prompt action in arresting the perpetrator and ensuring the safety of all citizens.

The statement from Chabad UF strongly condemns antisemitism, emphasizing that hatred and bigotry of any kind are unacceptable. The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s perspective is invoked, suggesting that an effective response to antisemitism is to increase and strengthen Jewish activity and observance.

Chabad UF encourages individuals to respond to antisemitism by performing additional Mitzvahs (good deeds) and spreading goodness and kindness in the community. The statement also includes practical suggestions, such as charitable acts, visiting the sick, and specific observances for the Shabbat.

Also Read: Israeli Consulate in Atlanta: Woman draped in Palestinian flag sets herself on fire

Chabad UF reaffirms its commitment to providing a proud Jewish life and learning environment and announces efforts to strengthen Judaism, advocate for Israel, and bring light and joy to the community. The center also commits to enhancing security protocols to ensure the safety of all participants, visitors, guests, employees, and staff. Contact information for further questions or concerns is provided.