Update January 25, 2023: Shahid Hussain pled guilty to all five counts brought against him, including antisemitic hate crimes. Judge Sutker-Dermer handed Hussain 15 years of prison time, although his sentencing will be reduced by 50% for good behavior; more here.
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Update February 1, 2022: Chicago police announce the arrest of Shahid Hussein; more here.
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Just days after the Holocaust Day of Remembrance, the West Rogers Park community in Chicago is dealing with a spree of attacks targeting the Jewish community.
On Sunday, a swastika was found spray-painted on the back side of the F.R.E.E. Russian-Jewish Community Synagogue near the corner of Devon Avenue and Richmond Street. Police said a man tagged the building and a cargo container and assaulted a man before fleeing the scene.
On Saturday, the Concerned Citizens League was made aware of three separate incidents where windows were broken. The CCL said a location near Devon Avenue and Richmond Street, as well as the Tel Aviv Bakery had their windows smashed. Another synagogue near Devon Avenue and Monticello Avenue had windows broken as well.
The incidents prompted 50th Ward Ald. Debra Silverstein to release the following statement:
“I am very upset to report that there were multiple distressing incidents in our neighborhood this weekend. Public safety is of the utmost importance, and the Chicago Police are closely investigating each case.
Vandalism was discovered at several local Jewish institutions and businesses. The police are still investigating whether the incidents are connected and if they were carried out by the same person or group of people. No official pronouncement has been made on a possible motive, but these have all the hallmarks of hate-based crimes.
These incidents are particularly upsetting as they come mere days after Holocaust Remembrance Day and in light of a worrying increase in antisemitism across the nation.
I want to assure everyone that the City of Chicago stands firmly with the Jewish community. The police are taking these incidents very seriously, as am I and all the City leadership. Hate has no place in this neighborhood, and bigotry will not be tolerated.
In an unrelated incident, on January 29 just after midnight, there was a shooting on the 6900 block of N. Western. A male was shot once and transported to St. Francis Hospital in stable condition.
The shooting is being investigated by Area 3 Detectives, and I will update you when more information becomes available.
In the meantime, I urge everyone to practice situational awareness and always pay attention to your surroundings. If you see anything suspicious, please call 911.
I am as upset as you are by this news. The 50th Ward is a safe and caring neighborhood, and these incidents are not in line with our values. I will continue to communicate with the police, and I will update you when any more information becomes available.“
50th Ward Ald. Debra Silverstein
Police have a man in custody that might possibly be involved in the attacks.