Grafton Thomas has been named as the suspect in the stabbing of multiple Jewish people with a large knife at a Monsey, New York rabbi’s home during Hanukkah celebrations in Rockland County, New York.
According to Heavy.com some sites gave the suspect’s name as Thomas Grafton or Thomas E. Grafton, but public records give it as Grafton Thomas.
Witnesses described a horrific attack in which the suspect, his face shielded partially with a scarf, knocked on Orthodox Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s door and then began attacking anyone in sight after pulling a machete-style knife out of a case. People threw furniture at him to ward off the attack, which unfolded on the evening of December 28, 2019.
Orthodox website Vos Iz Neias reported that “a black male entered Rabbi Rottenburg’s Shul, located in the Forshay neighborhood in Monsey, and pulled out a machete. He pulled off the cover and stabbed at least 3 people. One of the victims was stabbed in the chest,” adding that the “perpetrator then ran out and escaped in a vehicle. His plates were spotted before he left, and the police were searching for him.”
Grafton Thomas was captured 2-hours later near W. 144th Street and Adam Clayton Boulevard early Sunday morning. CBS2’s Christina Fan reports.
He was arraigned Sunday afternoon in Ramapo town court on five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary. Justice Rhoda Schoenberger ordered Thomas held on $5 million bail, Ramapo Town Supervisor Michael Specht tweeted. Schoenberger ordered Thomas to return to court January 3.
News cameras captured the suspect being walked out of the NYPD’s 32nd Precinct in Harlem after his arrest. He was taken back to Rockland County. Monsey is a hamlet of Ramapo, New York, and authorities there are leading the investigation. Assistant District Attorney Michael Dugandzic wanted the judge to hold Thomas without bail, but the judge said she couldn’t do so because of the state’s “new prison reform laws,” Lohud reports, adding that one victim has a fractured skull.
“Right after the #Monsey stabbing, the Rabbi and his followers gathered in the synagogue next door to his home (where the attack took place), and continued the celebrations. ‘The grace of God did not end and his mercy did not leave us,’ is a rough translation of the lyrics,” wrote the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council.