Albany, New York
Albany, New YorkiStock

A man fired a shotgun twice outside a Jewish synagogue in upstate New York on Thursday, then said "Free Palestine" as he was taken into custody, police said, according to The Associated Press.

No one was injured.

The incident took place outside Temple Israel, a Conservative synagogue in the state capital of Albany.

The shots were fired outside the building just before 2:00 p.m. local time, and a 28-year-old man was in custody, according to officials.

Police did not identify the man, but Gov. Kathy Hochul said he was a local resident.

A passerby talked to the gunman near the synagogue about 10 minutes after the shots were fired. The man dropped the shotgun before officers arrived on the scene and detained him, Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins told reporters at the scene.

"We were told by responding officers that he made a comment, 'Free Palestine,'" Hawkins said, according to AP.

The chief said the episode was being investigated as a hate crime and that there was no indication other people were involved.

An FBI spokesperson said the agency was aware of the episode and assisting as necessary.

In a statement on Thursday, Hochul said, “I am immediately directing the New York State Police and New York National Guard to be on high alert and increase the existing patrols of at-risk sites we had planned for the Hanukkah holiday, including at synagogues, yeshivas and community centers, and working closely with local law enforcement. This builds on the significant efforts we have taken to protect religious communities in the wake of the October 7 attacks. Make no mistake: the safety of Jewish New Yorkers is non-negotiable.”

“Any act of antisemitism is unacceptable, and undermining public safety at a synagogue on the first night of Hanukkah is even more deplorable. As New Yorkers, we must stand united: this is not who we are. We reject hate, antisemitism and violence in all forms. And we have no tolerance for the forces of evil who are trying to tear our communities apart,” she added.

The incident comes amid a spike in antisemitism around the world since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

In New York specifically, examples include a 29-year-old woman who was punched in the face at a subway stop in New York City. When asked by the woman why he did it, the attacker replied that it was because "you are Jewish." He then ran off.

In another incident, antisemitic messages praising Adolf Hitler and calling for the murder of Jews were found written on a New York City subway train.

Earlier this week, a man was indicted on multiple hate crimes in connection with allegedly punching an Israeli tourist in Times Square in October after making antisemitic remarks including, “Hamas should kill more of you."