MONSEY, N.Y. (1010 WINS) — Authorities say that five people were stabbed north of New York City during a Hanukkah celebration late Saturday night and a possible suspect has been located after fleeing the scene.
Photos and videos posted on Twitter show a large emergency response with paramedics running and pushing stretchers on Forshay Road in Monsey. A number of police and emergency vehicles can be seen in the images.
Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel said officers received reports of a stabbing just before 10 p.m. at a residence in the town about an hour north of New York City.
Weidel said the five people were taken to hospitals for treatment. It is unclear what the extent of their injuries are or a motive in the stabbing. Reports say some victims were hospitalized in critical condition.
Weidel said New York City police officers located the vehicle and possible suspect being sought in connection with the stabbing.
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council described the suspect's face as being covered with a scarf. The council tweeted reports that the stabbings took place at the house of a Hasidic rabbi while people were celebrating Hanukkah. Saturday was the seventh night of the holiday.
The suspect was wielding a machete at the time of the attack, according to CBS2. Other reports described the weapon as a large knife.
NBC4 reports that a man was taken into custody in Harlem about two hours later after fleeing in a Nissan Sentra, while Journal News reporter Chris Eberhart says the man was "located" by the NYPD in the 32nd Precinct, which includes parts of upper Manhattan.
The Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey said it's aware of the reports and was on the way to the scene in Monsey.
Several state and local officials have described the location of the stabbing as a synagogue. The NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau tweeted that it is “closely monitoring the reports of multiple people stabbed at a synagogue."
The incident comes amid a rash of anti-Semitic attacks in New York City and weeks after several people were killed in a shooting at a kosher deli in Jersey City. And last month a man was beaten and stabbed while walking to a synagogue in Rockland County.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called the stabbing a “cowardly act” has directed the State Police hate crimes task force to investigate.
“Let me be clear: anti-Semitism and bigotry of any kind are repugnant to our values of inclusion and diversity and we have absolutely zero tolerance for such acts of hate,” he said in Saturday’s statement. “In New York we will always stand up and say with one voice to anyone who wishes to divide and spread fear: you do not represent New York and your actions will not go unpunished.”
New York State Attorney General Letitia James said she was “deeply disturbed" by Saturday's incident.
“I am deeply disturbed by the situation unfolding in Monsey, New York tonight," she tweeted. “There is zero tolerance for acts of hate of any kind and we will continue to monitor this horrific situation. I stand with the Jewish community tonight and every night.”