By Christina Maxouris and Sheena Jones, CNN
Updated 5:46 AM ET, Sun December 29, 2019
(CNN) A man walked into a rabbi’s home during a Hanukkah celebration in a New York suburb Saturday night and began stabbing people, witnesses say. Five victims were taken to nearby hospitals, according to police.
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council for the Hudson Valley Region said in a tweet that victims inside the Monsey residence were Hasidic Jews. Two people are in critical condition, co-founder of the council, Yossi Gestetner, told CNN.
The attacker pulled out a knife that was “almost like a broomstick,” said Aron Kohn, who attended the Hanukkah celebration.
Kohn said there were at least 100 people in the home at that time, as the rabbi was “lighting the candle” on the seventh night of Hanukkah.
Kohn added that the suspect tried to run into a nearby synagogue, but someone closed the doors.
Rockland County — where the stabbing took place — has the largest Jewish population per capita of any US county, according to New York state. More than 30% of its residents are Jewish.
Officials are still working an active crime scene, Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel said in a news conference.
He said a suspect, described as a tall black man, was apprehended by police.