Fire extinguisher sprayed at Jewish men in Williamsburg in pair of possible hate crimes

NEW YORK — A fire extinguisher was the weapon of choice in a pair of possible hate crimes against Jewish men in Brooklyn

One of the victims, a 72-year-old, was uncomfortable sharing his name. He was shaken up and said it wasn’t the first time he was attacked in his own neighborhood, CBS2’s Zinnia Maldonado reported Monday. 

It happened at around 6 a.m. Sunday when the man was walking near Taylor Street and Lee Avenue in Williamsburg

“One guy ran after me and he started to spray,” he said. “I tried to walk as fast as I can.” 

He said he was approached by a group of individuals, including one who ran up from behind and sprayed him in the face with a fire extinguisher.  

The attack was caught on surveillance video. It shows the group walking away from the scene. 

The victim’s son believes his father was targeted because of his religion. 

“It was not only my father. It was another Jewish guy like two minutes after his attack. Definitely it’s a hate crime,” his son told CBS2. 

A second attack happened around the same time Sunday. A 66-year-old man was walking near Roebling and Third Street when someone sprayed him with a fire extinguisher and punched him, according to the NYPD. 

Dov Hikind, former State Assemblyman and founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, said attacks on Jews in New York City are out of control. 

“Something is wrong. We’re not doing it right. We’re not dealing with it in a way where it makes a difference,” said Hikind. “But people are afraid. There are real victims who live with the attacks upon them every single day.” 

Advocates fighting discrimination in Brooklyn believe the attacks are another reminder that local and state leaders need to take hate crimes more seriously. 

“We’re just going to continue talking about this and nothing is going to change unless we wake up,” said Hikind. 

Both victims are OK. No arrests have been made, so far, and both incidents are being investigated by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force. 

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