"Shocking and abhorrent act of hate": NYC mayor condemns synagogue attack in Brooklyn

/ CBS News

The NYPD's Hate Crimes Division is investigating after a window was smashed at a Brooklyn synagogue, CBS New York reports. More than a dozen people were inside Chabad of Bushwick observing the sabbath.

"My wife was here with the baby, a 10-month-old. Another child was sleeping on the couch. The other children were playing right here," Rabbi Menachem Heller told CBS New York.

About 15 people, including children, were inside the synagogue at the time of the incident.

"It's all young people, young families. Sometimes we sit here until 3, 4 in the morning," Heller said.

At around 2 a.m. Saturday, the front window of the synagogue was smashed by what the rabbi believes were two vandals. He said it sounded like an explosion. No one was injured.

"When we heard the boom, I ran and took some of the kids and we ran back there," Heller said. "When we saw them peek through the door and continuing on we felt safe to go to the door."

Twitter/@chabadbushwick via CBS New York

Because of the religious observance nobody had their cellphone so they had to go across the street to the Dunkin Donuts to get help, CBS New York points out.

Chain Duban is from a different congregation and stopped by to find out what happened. Caution tape still surrounded the window Sunday night, with glass scattered on the ground.

"We encourage love. This is the month of love and this is what's happening, which is really sad," Duban said.

"It was really scary. We didn't know what else was going to come after that," Heller added.

As of last week there were already 47 hate crimes this year, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, nearly doubling last year's numbers during the same time. Two-thirds of those incidents targeted the Jewish community.

"I hope it's not a hate crime," Heller said. "I wouldn't feel safe if it was. I'm hoping they find out who it was and it was some people who were acting foolish."

Shaken but not deterred, the congregation will continue meeting in East Williamsburg, but extra precautions will be put in place, according to CBS New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has condemned the incident as a "shocking and abhorrent act of hate." He's calling on the State Police Hate Crimes Unit to assist the NYPD in its investigation.

FBI finds increase in number of hate crimes reported

First published on February 17, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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