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Ex-Dartmouth Student Indicted for Shooting Campus Menorah With BB Gun

A former Dartmouth College student has been indicted on felony charges for shooting a public menorah on campus with a pellet gun during last year’s Hanukkah holiday.

Hanover, New Hampshire officials said Thursday that Carlos Wilcox shot out seven electric bulbs of a menorah mounted on the Dartmouth Green, the local Valley News reported. The 20-year-old Bronx, New York native also shot the windows of several college buildings, causing $1,500 in damage in total.

Wilcox, who is now dis-enrolled from Dartmouth College and banned from campus, managed to dodge a hate crime charge. “Certainly if this was a hate crime, it would have been so charged. The evidence was not there,” said Hanover Police Chief Charles Dennis, citing security camera footage from a nearby inn that did not record the vandalism but showed two individuals, one carrying “an object” resembling a rifle, approaching the Dartmouth Green late evening, Dec. 15, 2020.

Wilcox is currently out on bail, with a dispositional conference in his case scheduled for Monday. A second person in the footage has not been publicly identified, and Hanover Police declined to confirm whether it is investigating his involvement.

Rabbi Moshe Gray, Executive Director of Chabad at Dartmouth, who discovered the Dartmouth Green’s desecrated menorah last year when he went to light it, told Valley News Friday that the verdict had not left the Dartmouth Jewish community completely satisfied. “I don’t know if everyone buys it,” he said. “I personally would like to see some restorative justice.”

Rabbi Gray said his finding out that the vandal was a Dartmouth student “brought [him] an extra level of sadness.”

He said that this Hanukkah, over 100 Dartmouth community members joined him on the first night of the holiday to light the menorah’s first candle. Rabbi Gray had purchased a new menorah for this year’s celebration before learning that a Dartmouth facilities department employee repaired the one Wilcox damaged last winter.

Said Rabbi Gray, “Next year, we’ll have two menorahs.”

In a statement emailed to Valley News, Dartmouth College spokesman Diana Lawrence said, “Any act of vandalism, whether targeted at a specific group or not, is deeply unsettling. We deplore violence of any kind and look forward to a just resolution of tis matter.”

As in 2020, vandalism of public menorahs marking the 2021 holiday season have shocked and disturbed Jewish communities in the US and beyond.

New York City lawmakers in denounced the recent toppling of a menorah pitched on a traffic island in Queens, the scene of a similar incident in December 2014.  Four public menorahs were reported desecrated in several cities in Ukraine, while Jews in London saw at least two menorahs destroyed amid reports of assaults and harassment.