Synagogue Drive-By Shooting Being Investigated as Possible Hate Crime, Say Police

A shooting outside a Florida synagogue on Sunday evening is being investigated as a possible hate crime after a man was shot multiple times in a drive-by attack.

The incident took place at approximately 6:35 p.m., Northeast 171st Street, close to the Young Israel of Greater Miami in Miami-Dade County, police said. The shooter was reportedly driving a black vehicle and discharged up to six shots at the victim outside the religious building.

A detective assigned to the investigation told WPLG (Local 10) the man was in a stable condition after sustaining a leg injury. He was taken to a local hospital by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

The Yeshiva World News, an Orthodox Jewish news outlet, released the victim's name however police officials declined to verify the details when asked by Newsweek. Instead, officials were only able to confirm that the incident involved had involved a 58-year-old white male.

A spokesperson told Newsweek via email: "His name is not available for release at this time. There is a new law this year where victims of a crime can request to have their names exempt from public disclosure. Since the victim was in surgery, he has not been afforded the opportunity to exercise his right to have his name exempt.

Miami-Dade Police Department, which is now working alongside the North Miami Beach Police to investigate a potential hate crime, said the victim had been hit "several times in the lower extremity."

Yeshiva World News reported the victim was waiting for an afternoon prayer service known as Mincha when shots were fired from a vehicle. He was hit at least four times. The man was aided by a member of the volunteer emergency medical service Hatzalah until emergency services arrived at the scene. The victim was then transported to Aventura Medical Center.

@myNMBPolice is assisting Miami-Dade Police Department on the scene of a shooting in the area of NE 10AVE - 171 Street. Please contact @CrimeStopper305 if you have any information.

— North Miami Beach PD (@myNMBPolice) July 29, 2019

The vehicle involved in the shooting may have been a black Chevrolet Impala that was spotted in the area twice before the incident, according to NBC Miami. The search remains ongoing.

The motive for the attack is unknown. The Jerusalem Post reported that the shooting may have been linked to an earlier confrontation between the driver and an unrelated individual. Citing "sources close to the Jewish community," the newspaper reported the incident may not have been a hate crime.

The police spokesperson told Newsweek: "It's too early to tell if this is going to be categorized as a hate crime. In order to classify a crime a hate crime, there are several elements that need to be present, and that's what investigators are looking into as we speak."

Yaakov Hagoel, vice chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, a non-profit support group, told The Jerusalem Post: "First of all, I wish complete recovery for the wounded. I call upon the U.S. authorities to put an end to the wave of antisemitic terrorist attacks that are being perpetrated against Jews in the United States. It's time for Jews to be able to live their lives like any other citizen."

The Miami-Dade Police Department has asked anyone who has information about the case to call the local CrimeStoppers, which lets members of the community submit anonymous tips. For all non-emergencies, the Florida law enforcement branch can be contacted via: 305-476-5423.

This article has been updated with comment from Miami-Dade Police Department.

Young Israel of Greater Miami
Young Israel of Greater Miami in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Google Maps