Boston rabbi stabbing suspect described as violent, anti-Semitic by ex-colllege roommates

Former Jewish roommate of 24-year old alleged stabber of rabbi moved out and sought restraining order after the suspect assaulted him.

Dan Verbin ,

Rabbi Shalom Noginski
Rabbi Shalom Noginski

The college roommates of Khaled Awad, the suspect accused of stabbing Rabbi Shalom Noginski eight times in front of a Boston Chabad House on Thursday, described the 24-year old as “violent” and “very much-anti-Semitic” in an interview with CBS Boston.

The alleged stabber’s former college roommates at the University of Florida, where he had been studying chemical engineering until recently, told CBS that Awad had shown signs with regard to violence and was making worrying jokes about Jews.

“He started becoming violent,” said Eric Valiente, one of the roommates.

Awad’s other roommate, Aidan Anderson, who is Jewish, said that he and Awad were on friendly terms until Awad attacked him in their kitchen.

The incident caused Anderson to move out immediately and get a restraining order. “We were friends, to be honest with you. I’m Jewish. And he knew that since I moved in.”

Valiente said that after Anderson was assaulted, he also distanced himself from Awad.

Still, they were astonished when they learned that he was the suspect in the stabbing attack.

“He disgusted me at that point. I wanted nothing to do with the guy. At this point, I was a little scared of him. I was scared of what he was capable of because I realize he was a very dark person,” said Valiente.

Awad, who according to Fox News is an Egyptian citizen who overstayed his student visa and lost his American residency on May 14, was held without bail on Friday pending a hearing to determine whether he posed a danger if released.

He pleaded not guilty to assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a police officer, according to the Associated Press.

The motive behind the stabbing has not been released by authorities, with police still investigating.

According to Fox News, Awad did not have a criminal record in Massachusetts. However, he had been charged with several counts of battery and theft in Florida and was placed in a state mental health facility, Florida prosecutors said.

On Friday, District Attorney Rachael Rollins said that her office has launched a civil rights investigation to determine if the stabbing was a hate crime.

“We have to recognize that anti-Semitism is on the rise, and we need to hold people accountable when they do this, so that they are made an example of,” she said, speaking at a vigil held near the site of the attack.

The event was attended by a large crowd of several hundred.

Rabbi Noginski, a father of 12 children, is currently recovering at home. Over the weekend, he released a video statement giving thanks for the worldwide outpouring of support he has received.

“I’m feeling relatively well, although still in pain. Yes I’m in pain, but it could have been so much worse. It is also especially important that the assailant encountered me, and I was therefore able to divert his attention from the school and the children,” he said.

Rabbi Noginski is hopeful he will be able to return to work soon. He ended the video on a positive note.

“One message I would like to share with you is that the way to respond to darkness and evil is by increasing in acts of goodness and kindness,” he said.