MONSEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- An Orthodox Jewish man was punched, slashed and stabbed on his way to a synagogue on Wednesday morning in Rockland County.
He survived, but was hospitalized and underwent surgery for serious injuries, police said.
The incident happened at around 5:40 a.m. near the shul at 2 Howard Drive. Police said at least one person jumped out of a car, punched the man repeatedly and then stabbed him more than once, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported.
The 30-year-old victim, who is married with four kids, did not know his attacker, police said.
Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel said the young man who found the victim reported it as a man struck by a vehicle. First responders realized he'd actually been savagely attacked.
"The viciousness of this assault, it was an attempted murder is the way I see it," Weidel said.
"It seems to be an unprovoked incident. We're still in the initial stages of the investigation, but what we do know is there were no words exchanged," community liaison Rabbi Yisroel Kahan added. "[The assailant] jumped out of a car, pummeled him to the ground for a lengthy period, a minute or two, probably. At some point he was stabbed and rushed to Westchester [County Medical Center] with Hatzolah paramedics."
Web Extra: Rockland County Officials Update On Attack That Left Orthodox Jewish Man Punched, Slashed:
County Executive Ed Day said there is obvious concern about a possible anti-Semitic hate crime, but he's telling residents the Ramapo police need to do a thorough investigation before anyone will comment on a motive.
"It is critically important that they be given the time and the effort to find out exactly what occurred, and why it occurred, and then they will go from there," Day said.
Investigators were seen going up and down the street looking for evidence and gathering surveillance video on Wednesday. They said they're searching for at least one suspect, but did not immediately release a description. They promised worried residents they would see enhanced and increased police patrols.
"I want to see a police presence. We're a large community. There are a lot of empty streets. There's not enough lighting. We want to see the police presence and we want to see these perpetrators caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Monsey resident Rivkie Feiner said.
"This act of violence is horrific and not reflective of our peaceful community. Violence or hate of any kind is never tolerated," state Sen. David Carlucci said in a statement. "I pray for the victim's recovery and expect police will find the suspects and bring them to justice. I am awaiting more details on this incident."
The Anti-Defamation League is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
"We are outraged by this terribly violent incident," ADL Regional Director Evan R. Bernstein said. "This is truly horrifying. A peaceful walk to shul in the early morning hours is how this man started the day and now he's in serious condition in a hospital because of this attack. There is absolutely no room in our communities for violence. We must come together and stand shoulder to shoulder, not only to condemn this despicable act, but also work as a community to stem the tide of hatred and violence. We wish for the speedy and full recovery of the victim and hope this reward facilitates the swift apprehension of those responsible for this attack."
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