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  • Writer's pictureOrina Ontiri

New York police fatally shoot man who stabbed student in synagogue

Officers say shot fired after man refused to drop knife at Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic headquarters in Brooklyn’s Crown Heighs neighborhood

A man who stabbed a Jewish student in the side of the head in a prominent New York synagogue was shot dead by police after lunging at officers with a nine-inch blade.

A crime scene investigator, center, passes a member of the Lubavitch community as he enters Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic headquarters on Tuesday. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP

The incident was captured in a dramatic video obtained by the New York Post, where onlookers in the basement of the Chabad Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood ask the suspect to put the knife down while an officer points his gun at the man.

The standoff took place after the 49-year-old man reportedly entered the synagogue at about 2am, asked for a Bible, walked out, and returned to stab a 22-year-old student in the side of the head, according to the Post. The student was conscious but bleeding profusely.

According to witnesses, the attacker repeatedly said “Kill the Jews,” Chaim Landa, a spokeswoman for Chabad Lubavitch, told the Associated Press.

An officer on foot patrol in the neighborhood was flagged by a bystander and told that the man had already stabbed someone.

Inside the synagogue basement, the video shows an officer pointing his gun at the man as he holds a knife, and several Hasidic men ask the man to put the knife down, or set it on the table.

“You gonna shoot me? You gonna shoot me, yo?” the man with the knife asks an officer.

“If you don’t drop the knife I will,” he says, as onlookers urge the armed man to, “Put the knife [down], put the knife, put the knife.”

The suspect sets the knife on a nearby table, and the situation appears to de-escalate as the officer holsters his handgun. Then, the man suddenly lunges for the knife and at an officer. The videographer cuts away from the scene as officers yell, and one shot is fired.

The shot hit the man in the torso, and he was taken to Kings County hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The 22-year-old student was taken to the same hospital, where he is listed in stable condition, police said. Three officers, including the one who shot the man, were taken to Methodist Hospital for tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.

A member of the synagogue told the Post: “It’s the first time this has happened at a New York synagogue.

“I come here every day. To know that somebody died here, it’s scary. It needs to be a secure place.”-guardian

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