An alleged hate crime has killed a long-time New Jersey photojournalist and EMT who was described as a gentle soul who went out of his way to help others.
But don’t expect to see his story across headlines everywhere.
Wolkowitz, 56, died Thursday, nearly six months after a vicious attack left him on life support for several months. The attack happened May 1 when Wolkowitz was talking near his Freehold Township apartment complex, according to published reports.
Police believe Jamil S. Hubbard, 26, of Sayreville, allegedly beat Wolkowitz, dragged him into a parking lot and ran over him with his Chevy Malibu. Hubbard then allegedly stole Wolkoowitz’s money and his Kia Forte. Hubbard was arrested the same day.
“(Hubbard) explained that he chose him because he was a white man,” prosecutor Keri-Leigh Schaefer said during a court hearing.
The prosecutor also said Hubbard admitted he had never met or seen the victim before, and wanted to kill him because of his race, the Ashbury Park Press reported. The news outlet published Wolkowitz’s work over the years.
"All the victim did was walk home," Schaefer said. "That could have been anyone."
A tweet by Asbury Park Patch shows Wolkowitz (left) in a photo on a GoFundMe page that was set up for his expenses.
Jerry Wolkowitz, who had been moved to a long-term care center in September, died Thursday, five months after the a… https://t.co/3Va7NjRPHj— Asbury Park Patch (@Asbury Park Patch) 1539875850.0
Hubbard was initially charged with with attempted murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and bias intimidation. A grand jury later added armed robbery, eluding and theft, according to reports.
Anything else about him?
A message on the page, written before his death, states:
“Jerry is a reporter, a writer, a first aid volunteer, a dedicated worker, a wonderful friend, and a devoted family man with a loving fiance. Jerry loves cats and captures many special pictures of his precious Misu. Jerry spent his life dedicated to helping others and has touched so many lives as a volunteer for the Freehold First Aid Squad, a reporter for the Asbury Park Press and The News Transcript, a driver for SAS Ambulance, and so much more. He is kind-hearted and highly devoted to his family and friends.
The post also said he "has a great sense of humor, and is always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.”
The page has raised more than $16,000 and donations were still flowing in early Sunday afternoon.
The Ashbury Park Press wrote that Wolkowitz was a son of Holocaust survivors. He worked as a photojournalist, independent photographer, EMT and ambulance supervisor and, most recently, as supervisor at Transcom in Jersey City. He also was a life member of the Freehold First Aid and Rescue Squad.
"It's an absolute tragedy when such a vibrant life ends under such senseless circumstances," Hollis R. Towns, Press executive editor and vice president for news and Northeast regional editor for the USA Today Network, stated in the Ashbury Park Press.
Wolkowitz also enjoyed mentoring younger medics, who called him an "innocent soul."
"It's so profoundly heartbreaking that this has happened," Noel Olivarius, chaplain of the Freehold First Aid and Rescue Squad, told the Ashbury Park Press. "Jerry was nothing but kindness and goodness. His family has endured more than anyone."