Queens City Councilman Rory Lancman is warning about a pair of possibly anti-Semitic crimes in Kew Gardens Hills after two Orthodox men were targeted with BB guns. The attacks occurred within two blocks of each other, on 150th Street between 75th and 73rd, near the Lander College for Men, a yeshiva. Both victims were dressed in clothing that would have identified their faith, according to Lancman’s office. The incidents are being investigated as possible bias crimes.
The first attack occurred on September 11 and the second on Friday, September 18, coinciding with Rosh Hashanah and the start of the Jewish High Holidays. Neither victim was seriously injured. Kew Gardens Hills contains a large Orthodox and Haredi population. The attacks were first reported in the Queens Chronicle.
Lancman told the Voice that he was notified by the NYPD after the most recent incident so he could communicate the potential threat to his constituents. Lancman was told that neither victim saw his attacker. “Whoever shot them shot them from enough of a distance or from a concealed location that the victims didn’t see their attacker,” Lancman told the Voice. He said the timing of the attacks was especially worrisome.
“Given the symbolism of the High Holidays, and that it’s the time of the year when the most Jews gather together in one place, that can make for an inviting target” for bigots, Lancman said.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for more information.