UPDATE March 16, 2023: Jamil Hakime pled guilty to a federal charge for selling a gun to Christopher Brown and Matthew Mahrer who plotted attacks on New York synagogues; more here.
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UPDATE January 31, 2023: New York Police have charged Jamil Hakime with multiple federal gun trafficking offenses for aiding Matthew Maher and Christopher Brown with a firearm. Hakime was registered as an employee of the Bronx Juvenile Detention Center at the time of the violent antisemitic threats; more here.
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UPDATE February 6, 2024: Hakime, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and three years of supervised release; more here.
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UPDATE November 20, 2022: Christopher Brown was charged with making a terroristic threat, criminal possession of a weapon and other weapons charges while Matthew Mahrer, is facing charges including criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm; more here.
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The NYPD arrested two people and seized weapons at Penn Station as cops uncovered and stopped a threat against the city’s Jewish community on Saturday.
One of the two men arrested was identified as Christopher Brown, 21, of Aquebogue, New York, a man with a history of mental illness who made recent threats to synagogues in the city and was wearing a swastika armband, The New York Daily News reports.
The other was identified as Matthew Mahrer, 22, of Manhattan, the son of a former Chelsea CTE High School teacher.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement that the threat Brown and Mahrer posed to the Jewish community was uncovered Friday by state and federal law enforcement.
‘By early Saturday, the NYPD’s exhaustive intelligence-gathering led to the arrest by sharp-eyed MTA police officers of two individuals entering Penn Station, in Manhattan, and the seizures of a large hunting knife, an illegal Glock 17 firearm and 30-round magazine, and several other items,’ Sewell said.
According to reports from federal and local law enforcement, Brown had wanted to travel to the Big Apple with the purpose of purchasing a firearm.
It is currently unknown if he was meeting up with Mahrer to buy the weapon from him.
Brown was charged with making a terroristic threat, aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon. Mahrer was only charged with criminal possession of a weapon.
Sewell said that Police Department commanders have been deployed strategic ‘assets at sensitive locations throughout New York City,’ to heighten security around Jewish communities.
‘I join all New Yorkers today in expressing my gratitude and pride for the ever-vigilant work of our NYPD women and men – who remain on-guard around-the-clock and every day to protect the peace and ensure no violence can ever come to the city and its people,’ Sewell added.
The city has reported 551 hate crimes so far this year, a 16 percent increase from the same time in 2021.Along with an increase in hate crimes, the Big Apple has seen violent crime continue to rise.
According to the NYPD, overall crime is up 29.1 percent in New York City from last year, with felony assaults, rapes and robberies all up double digits. Murders are down 14.8 percent and shootings are down 12.5 percent.
Felony assaults are also up nearly 14 percent, with police recording 22,319 cases so far this year, and rapes have increased by nearly 11 percent.
Murders and the number of shooting victims were down 14.4 and 13.6 percent respectively.
The city’s transit system appears to be bearing the brunt of surging crime, with about 1,865 reports so far in 2022, a 41.7 percent spike from last year.