The Egyptian national who authorities said pulled a gun on a Boston rabbi and stabbed him eight times outside a Jewish school last week on Thursday was charged with hate crimes, after prosecutors claimed the suspect referred to all Jews as ‘stingy and evil.’
Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Margaret Hegarty said during a hearing in Brighton Municipal Court that Khaled Awad arrived in the US from the Middle East with strong religious views and opinions’ against Jews, Christians and the American culture.
The prosecutor quoted Awad as telling a witness: ‘all Jews are stingy and evil.’
Khaled Awad (left) appears in Brighton District Court in Boston Thursday to be charged with hate crime offenses for allegedly stabbing Rabbi Shlomo Noginski eight times (right)
Prosecutors said Awad came to the US from Egypt with biased views toward Jews, Christians and the American culture
Awad was quoted as telling a witness: ‘all Jews are evil and stingy’
Awad, 24, has already pleaded not guilty to counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery on a police officer in connection with the July 1 stabbing of Rabbi Shlomo Noginski outside a Jewish day school and synagogue.
On Thursday, the office of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Collins charged Awad with civil rights violation causing injury and bodily injury and intimidation.
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Collins, pictured in court during Thursday’s hearing, said she believes the attack was ‘rooted in antisemitism’
According to prosecutors, people who knew Awad said he harbored biased views toward various racial groups, including whites and blacks, but he was ‘especially harsh on Jews.’
Awad, who was previously described by his former roommate as a violent anti-Semite, did not tolerate having his views challenged and would grow angry, according to officials.
Hegarty said Awad was seen acting suspiciously near the Shaloh House the day before the attack, when he first demanded Noginski’s car keys, Hegarty said. In addition, Noginski was wearing a yarmulke and Awad had to walk past a Menorah, suggesting that he targeted Jews, the prosecutor argued.
‘We believe this was rooted in antisemitism,’ Rollins said outside court.
Awad’s court-appointed attorney, Stephen Weymouth, requested a competency evaluation. A court clinician told the judge that Awad has been diagnosed as bipolar and has not been taking his medications while in Massachusetts.
The violent attack took place near Shaloh House, a Jewish day school and synagogue in Boston
Noginski was wearing a yarmulke and exiting the Jewish school when he was attacked by Awad, according to police
Awad has already pleaded not guilty to assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery on a police officer
It was also revealed that Awad was found unfit to stand in Florida last year and instead was sent to a mental health facility after being arrested on battery and theft charges.
‘Competency could be an issue,’ Weymouth said in court. He also dismissed the idea that the stabbing was a hate crime, and said it was more likely a ‘crime of opportunity’ in an effort to steal a vehicle.
Awad was ordered to undergo further psychiatric evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital.
A dangerousness hearing scheduled for Thursday was postponed until July 29, after the second evaluation.
Noginski, an Israeli citizen with 12 children, was released from the hospital the day after the stabbing, which has left him with multiple stitches.
Noginski called his survival a ‘miracle’ and said he was saved by God
Speaking in Hebrew through a translator in a video obtained by NBC 10 Boston, Noginski credited God – and his being a black belt in judo – with his survival.
‘A great miracle has just happened to me. God saved me,’ Noginski said. ‘I am feeling relatively well, although still in pain. Yes, I am in pain, but it could have been so much worse.’
Noginski said his martial arts training allowed him to divert the assailant’s attention away from the school and children.
Awad approached the rabbi with a gun and a knife while he was talking on the phone, sitting on the steps of the school where more than 100 children were attending summer camp, according to prosecutors and Rabbi Dan Rodkin, executive director of Shaloh House. The suspect allegedly demanded the rabbi’s car keys, and Noginski ran across the street to a park where he was stabbed eight times.
According to the court documents, when police located Awad, he pointed what appeared to be a firearm at them. Three officers drew their firearms and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon multiple times, authorities said. The suspect then lowered his weapon and threw it to the ground.
Steve Sass and Zoe Golub-Sass attend a unity rally on July 2 in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood, near the site of the stabbing attack in broad daylight on Rabbi Noginski
Awad kicked one of the officers in the stomach as he was being assisted into a transport vehicle for booking, police said.
Noginski is an Israeli citizen who came to the Boston area as an emissary to spread the Chabad message, Consul General of Israel to New England Meron Reuben told the Boston Herald.
One of Awad’s former friends at the University of South Florida, Eric Valiente, told CBS Boston that Awad was ‘violent’ and ‘anti-Semitic.’
‘He started becoming violent,’ Valiente said. ‘He was very much anti-Semitic. He would say like all types of Jewish jokes. I thought he was joking at first and then I started to see seriousness in his comments.’
Aidan Anderson, a former roommate of Awad’s who is Jewish, also told CBS News that he ended up moving out and had to obtain a restraining order last fall when Awad attacked him in their shared kitchen.