Family: Hanukkah stabbing suspect had mental illness history

National News

December 30, 2019 - 10:09 AM

People hold signs of support near the house of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg onSunday in Monsey, New York. Five people were injured in a knife attack during a Hanukkah party and a suspect, identified as Grafton E. Thomas, was later arrested in Harlem. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/TNS)

MONSEY, N.Y. (AP) — A man accused of storming into a rabbi’s home and stabbing five people as they celebrated Hanukkah in an Orthodox Jewish community north of New York City was raised to embrace tolerance but has a history of mental illness, his family said.

“Grafton Thomas has a long history of mental illness and hospitalizations. He has no history of like violent acts and no convictions for any crime,” his family said late Sunday in a statement issued by attorney Michael Sussman. “He has no known history of anti-Semitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races. He is not a member of any hate groups.”

“We believe the actions of which he is accused, if committed by him, tragically reflect profound mental illness,” the statement said.

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