MONSEY, N.Y. — The stabbing that took place by an intruder in Monsey at a rabbi’s home on Saturday was a hate crime, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court on Monday afternoon.
It also indicated that handwritten notes and internet searches by suspect Grafton Thomas showed that he’d had anti-Semitic intentions in the attack. That evidence contrasted with writings from Thomas that his attorney produced on Monday.
“Many, many rambling writings,” is how attorney Michael Sussman described scribbled writings from his client.
The writings, most of which were scrawled on pieces of scrap paper, “frankly show the ramblings of a disturbed individual,” Sussman said
There is no suggestion of an anti-Semitic motive, he said at a news conference with Thomas’ mother, Kim, and her pastor, Rev. Wendy Paige.
In contrast to the writings that Sussman produced, a six-page federal complaint issued Monday afternoon cited very different writings from Thomas.
Specifically, the complaint said that Thomas had written in a journal seized from his home “referring to ‘Adolf Hitler,’ and ‘Nazi culture’ on the same page as drawings of a Star of David and a swastika.”
It went on to say that on Thomas’s cellphone, he’d done searches including “Why did Hitler hate the Jews,” as well as searches for different Jewish temples, and companies founded by Jewish people.
Also on Monday, more details emerged about the attack, including that the very worst had been avoided was avoided thanks to quick action by the people being attacked.
“They fought back in the face of evil,” said security company owner Patrick Brosnan. “They threw furniture at this guy.”
Brosnan’s comments were made at a news conference Monday morning about how Rockland County law enforcement will work with Brosnan’s security firm, Brosnan Smart Security Solutions, to have armed patrols outside of synagogues in the county, for the foreseeable future.
“We cannot sit around and do nothing,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day said. “So we are taking proactive action.”
The security company is providing its services free of charge, according to Day. He said that the county’s approach is to guard against more attacks like the one on Saturday, which they called a hate crime, carried out by Grafton Thomas.
He was arrested within three hours of the attack with an 18-inch machete and another knife in his car. He also had blood and hair on his person, and in the car which tied him to the attack, according to the criminal complaint.
Around the same time of its release, his pastor and his mother insisted that the attack was not about hate, but was instead a case of mental illness that manifested itself in the very worst way.
“He’s always been a gentle giant, with mental illness,” said Pastor Wendy Paige.
She added that she’d had to be very frank with Thomas’s mother, after the attack.
“This has been a shock,” Rev. Paige said, adding that Thomas’ mother said that she couldn’t believe what had happened.
“I told her you don’t have to believe it,” Paige continued, but you have to accept that this is the reality of what is now.”