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New York Synagogue Attack: Private Security Firm To Provide Armed Patrols In Wake Of Stabbing


MONSEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Rockland County officials are rolling out new security measures to keep the Jewish community safe following Saturday's synagogue stabbing that injured five people in Monsey.

In the wake of the horrific attack, County Executive Ed Day announced Monday a private security firm will work with law enforcement to provide armed patrols that will be conducted -- free of charge -- by off-duty or retired FBI agents, state police and NYPD detectives.

"They are going to be lending the assistance of the private sector to augment the efforts being done by municipal law enforcement personnel," Day said. "We cannot sit around and do nothing. So, we are taking proactive action in order to address the concerns, the fears, that are out there."

WATCH: Rockland County Executive Announces New Security Measures 

Brosnan Risk Consultants CEO Patrick Brosnan, who lives in the county, said he volunteered his services because he was "personally deeply disturbed at this cowardly act and this disgusting reprehensible cancer that I've seen in recent weeks in Rockland."

He went on to praise the worshipers for their courage fighting back "in the face of evil."

"They didn't have guns, they didn't have training, they threw furniture at this guy, threw a coffee table at him," said Brosnan. "That is the spirit here. You have to fight back."

Grafton E. Thomas (Credit: Rockland County Correctional Center)

Investigators are still working to determine why Grafton Thomas allegedly traveled from Orange County to inflict hate and suffering on the seventh night of Chanukah.

"There's obviously some frustration, confusion, resolve. People wondering what will government do, what we could do as a community," Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council co-founder Yossi Gestetner said.

The 37-year-old suspect is accused of storming into the Monsey synagogue and home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg and stabbing a group of worshipers on Saturday night. Witnesses said Thomas pulled out a long sword, possibly a machete, and started attacking people.

Web Extra: Grafton Thomas charged with federal hate crimes. Read the complaint.

Police tracked Thomas to Harlem, where two NYPD officers could be seen taking him into custody with their guns drawn.

He pleaded not guilty Sunday to five counts of attempted murder and burglary and was held on $5 million bond. On Monday, federal prosecutors also filed federal hate crime charges against him.

The attack followed at least nine hate crimes across New York City in less than a week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered New York State Police to step up patrols in Orthodox neighborhoods to give residents some peace of mind.

Web Extra: NYC Civil Rights Leaders Unite To Denounce Hate:

In New York City, civil rights organizations and local leaders came together Monday to denounce antisemitism with one collective voice, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported.

"We wanted to convene to say you can't fight hate against you unless you are willing to fight hate against everyone else. You cannot be anti hate and pro civil rights, only one way," said the Rev. Al Sharpton said.

Speaking at the National Action Network in Harlem, Sharpton, along with elected officials, religious leaders, members from the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the NAACP, talked about the continued fight to come together and all the progress that's been made.

"The incidents involved blacks that have been arrested and charged. To say that we will not be silent and that we condemn any attacks, any hate crimes, any efforts by anyone to try and in any way impede the continuing move toward trying to heal whatever we have had to try and heal in the black and Jewish community," Sharpton said.

"The Jewish community has been a backbone for the NAACP," added Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference.

"We cannot fight our battles alone and as we were there for the African-American community and continue to be there with the African-American community we need the African-American community," Rabbi Marc Schneier said.

Members of the group also joined hands and prayed for the victims of the attack in Monsey and all those affected. They also said New Yorkers need to do more than just come together. They called on everyone to call out antisemitism, racism, anti-Muslim and homophobic bias when they see it.

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