De Blasio On Crown Heights Stabbing: Police ‘Handled Situation Very Admirably’


de-blasioBrooklyn, NY – Men outside of Bellevue Hospital recited the words of Tehillim 20 as they davened for the full recovery of stabbing victim Levi Yitzchok Rosenblatt last night.

A man wielding a knife who stabbed Levi Yitzchok inside the Chabad 770 shul in Crown Heights was fatally shot by police early Tuesday morning when he refused to drop the knife, police said.

It happened around 1:40 a.m.

Police identified Calvin Peters, 49, as the man who stabbed the 22-year-old Rosenblatt.

Rosenblatt had been learning in the shul when he was attacked, Motti Seligson said.

“I see his whole side of his face all stabbed up and bloody,” one witness told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern. “He was screaming for help, and I told him to calm down.”

In video of the incident posted online, Peters can be seen holding a knife in his right hand while surrounded by bystanders and officers with weapons drawn.

Peters can be seen yelling at bystanders, asking one man in the video, “Want me to kill you?”

An officer is heard telling him repeatedly to drop the knife and step away. Others in the room appear to be trying to calm Peters down, telling him to put down the knife.

He eventually puts it on a table and backs away and one of the officers is seen holstering his weapon.

But moments later, Peters is seen grabbing the knife off the table and starts to walk around the room as officers yell at him repeatedly to drop the knife.

“The policeman, he tell you ‘stop, stop’ but guy is not stopping,” witness Rafael Benloulou, who recorded most of the incident on video, told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

That’s when police said he lunged at one of the officers, who fired once, hitting him in the torso. A gunshot is heard on the video as officers continue yelling for him to drop the knife.

Video shows Peters lying on the ground alive as officers put him in handcuffs. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Rosenblatt, who was stabbed in the left temple, was taken to the hospital in stable condition, police said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said authorities are “monitoring this case very closely and conducting a thorough investigation” and commended the responding officers.

“They responded quickly to a tense and dangerous situation and while any loss of life is tragic, we are fortunate that, thanks to the actions of our officers early this morning, more people were not injured or worse,” the mayor said in a statement. “The job our brave men and women perform on a daily basis to protect the people of New York City is often perilous and difficult and we thank them for their service.”

He also said “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Levi Rosenblatt and the entire Chabad-Lubavitch community.”

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called Officer Roberto Pagan’s actions justified.

“The actions of the officers are more than justified based on the dangers that they and seven other individuals faced in the basement of that building,” Bratton said.

Seligson said witnesses reported the suspect repeatedly saying, “Kill the Jews.” But Brooklyn Chief of Detectives Pat Conry said Peters may have said something along the lines of, “I will kill all of you.”

Bratton said police are investigating the alleged remarks.

“That’s part of the investigation, it’s been alleged there was that statement,” Bratton said. “We have a number of witnesses and my understanding is that one of the witnesses, in his statement, said he heard that. We will seek to corroborate that as part of the investigation.”

Police said a 9-inch knife with a 4 1/2-inch blade was recovered at the scene. Three officers were also hospitalized for ringing in the ear.

“While we are very pained by everything that has unfolded, we are very grateful to the police for their quick response and are working closely with the authorities in their ongoing investigation,” said Seligson. “We commend the heroic efforts of the individuals who were present and took immediate action. If not for their intervention the outcome could have been, God forbid far worse.”

Read more at CBS NEW YORK.

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