That same morning, a 66-year-old Jewish New Yorker was similarly sprayed with a fire extinguisher and then punched.
The 72-year-old victim's son suggested that the attack was likely a hate crime, based also on the religion of the 66-year-old attacked nearby shortly thereafter.
According to NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, both victims were targeted because they are Jewish. "No one deserves to be the victim of such senseless, hateful violence," said Sewell. "We remain focused on prevention. ... The NYPD takes great pride in the work that we do each day and night whenever hate emerges."
Arrests made this year by the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force are up in excess of 100%. In the second quarter of 2022, 155 hate crime complaints were filed and 73 arrests made by the NYPD; 50 arrests were made in the year's first quarter. Arrests made in connection with attacks on Jewish New Yorkers are up 45% this year.
Rabbi Sam Stern, a community activist and chair of the United Jewish Advisory Council, said the rash of anti-Semitic attacks in New York are cause for concern, especially now as kids are returning to school. "We're terrified. We're distressed," he said. "If people can be beaten in early morning just for going to synagogue, these kids will be afraid walking out to school."
In addition to the apprehension of the suspect believed to be behind the fire extinguisher attacks, Sewell announced that arrest was made in connection with another recent anti-Semitic attack.
The NYPD said 31-year-old Carrington Maddox was arrested on Thursday and charged with aggravated harassment and menacing as a hate crime. The Brooklyn resident allegedly slapped a 27-year-old man dressed in traditional Jewish attire on August 22.
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig condemned the attacks, saying, "To be attacked for no other reason than you were wearing clothing that identifies you as a member of the Jewish faith is not only an assault on that person but on the whole Jewish community and the entire city."
New York City is said by the Anti-Defamation League to have led the nation in anti-Semitic incidents last year, which saw a 24% spike in incidents over 2020, resulting in a total of 416 incidents.
In 2021, anti-Semitic incidents reached an all-time high in the U.S., with a total of 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment, and vandalism.