Temple Israel Incident: Arrest Made After Shotgun Fired Near Albany Synagogue on First Night of Hanukkah

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The suspect, identified as Mufid Fawaz Alkhader, is facing charges of possessing a firearm as a prohibited individual.

Temple Israel Incident: Arrest Made After Shotgun Fired Near Albany Synagogue on First Night of Hanukkah
Temple Israel Incident: Arrest Made After Shotgun Fired Near Albany Synagogue on First Night of Hanukkah ( Photo: Los Angeles Times )

A man was apprehended after allegedly discharging a shotgun in the vicinity of Temple Israel, a synagogue in Albany, New York, as confirmed by Governor Kathy Hochul

Alkhader, 28, was set to appear in U.S. District Court in Albany on Friday following the incident, which occurred around 2:27 p.m. Fortunately, no injuries were reported, and law enforcement swiftly detained the suspect. According to a criminal complaint released on Friday, Alkhader, born in Iraq and now a U.S. citizen, invoked his Miranda rights and informed authorities that the events in the Middle East and his regular marijuana use had influenced his actions. The suspect fired two shots into the air from a Kel-Tec KS7 12-gauge shotgun in the vicinity of Temple Israel.

Governor Hochul, addressing reporters at a news conference, emphasized the heightened state of alertness initiated after the October 7 attacks. With a criminal history, Alkhader is awaiting arraignment, as per the governor’s statement.

A joint effort by the ATF, FBI, Albany Police Department, and New York State Police led to Alkhader’s swift arrest, as highlighted in a statement by the FBI on X

The incident prompted a lockdown of an early childhood center on the temple premises, with parents eventually being able to retrieve their children. Governor Hochul assured Rabbi Wendy Love Anderson, the spiritual leader of Temple Israel, that her congregation’s safety is a top priority. She denounced hate crimes and violence in all forms, asserting that such acts go against the values of New Yorkers.

Temple Israel had faced a bomb threat in September, and the recent incident occurred on the first night of Hanukkah, adding to the sensitivity of the Jewish community. Eva Wyner, Deputy Director of Jewish Affairs for the New York State Executive Chamber, lit the first candle of the menorah during a news conference, emphasizing resilience in the face of intimidation. Governor Hochul promptly directed the New York State Police and National Guard to increase patrols at vulnerable sites, including synagogues, yeshivas, and community centers, during Hanukkah.

 

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