Authorities are investigating whether Grafton Thomas, the man charged in Saturday night’s machete attack on Hanukkah celebrants in Monsey, is tied to a recent stabbing near a village synagogue, a law enforcement official told The New York Post on Sunday.
Details of the incident under investigation were unclear, but a 30-year man was beaten and repeatedly knifed while walking to the Mosdos Meharam Brisk Tashnad religious center in Monsey around 5:30 a.m. on November 20, the Journal News reported at the time.
The victim, a father of four, was so badly brutalized that cops were initially told he’d apparently been hit by a car, officials said.
Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel told reporters that the man was “approached from behind by one or more individuals” and stabbed with an unidentified weapon that wasn’t immediately recovered.
Shortly after the November 20 incident, Ramapo police said they do not believe that the stabbing was a hate crime.
The FBI joined that investigation and authorities were working to enhance low-quality surveillance video shot from afar, according to The New York Post.
Saturday night’s attack took place at approximately 9:50 p.m. while congregants gathered at a Hasidic synagogue operated by Rabbi Rottenburg in Monsey, New York.
Some 50 to 60 people had gathered to light Hanukkah candles when the assailant, who was covering his face with a scarf, burst into the synagogue brandishing a machete, and began stabbing congregants.
Some congregants hurled chairs and a small table at the assailant, forcing him to flee.
The attacker drove off, making his way to New York City. Police found him roughly two hours later, at around midnight, after identifying his car via the license plate number.