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Antisemitism is escalating in Squirrel Hill after threats and flyers from hate group

Antisemitism is escalating in Squirrel Hill after threats and flyers from hate group 02:15

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Pittsburgh police are investigating multiple acts of hate against the Jewish community in Squirrel Hill.  

According to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, antisemitism is on the rise again, not only in Pittsburgh but across the country. These latest acts of hate come while Jews worldwide celebrate Passover.  

Pittsburgh police arrested 31-year-old Christian Williams. He is accused of harassing and threatening a Jewish couple near Phillips and Murray avenues on Sunday. He allegedly threatened to shoot them and then yelled, "I'm gonna kill all Jews." The couple alerted police immediately. 

"We were able to get a very good physical description of the individual which really helped us put that out to the community and said be on the lookout for this individual," Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Director of Community Security Shawn Brokos said.  

Then on Tuesday, Williams is accused of yelling obscenities at the Community Day School on Forward Avenue. Police tracked him back to apartments in the 5600 block of Forward Avenue where he was living with his mother. Investigators said she told them her son needs to go to Western Psych.  

"Though he most likely has significant mental health issues, he still has anger and hatred towards specifically the Jewish community. That is somebody who shouldn't be on the streets," Brokos said over Zoom.  

The federation said that's not the only recent attack against the community.  

"We actually are in a pattern of increased threat tempo in Pittsburgh. I feel like I say that a lot, but we continue to see this rise and escalation of anti-Semitism," Brokos told KDKA.  

She said on Friday night about 20 homes in Squirrel Hill were hit with flyers from the hate group GDL. They expressed antisemitic and white supremacist views. The flyers were in Ziploc bags with rice and placed on doorsteps or sidewalks.  

"It talked about how -- allegations that Jews own and control the media," Brokos said about the flyers.  

This is reportedly the group's first known activity in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh police are aware and investigating. They said if you receive one, you should report it immediately.  

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