Police are investigating possible bias crimes in Williamsburg, where several Hasidic Jews have been targeted by paintball attacks.
Last Monday, June 29, Chaim Klein, a 62-year-old Hasidic Jewish man, was the most recent victim. He was hit with paintballs on the side at 1:45 am on Lee Ave, near Bonda’s 24-Hour supermarket. He works at Grill on Lee, a restaurant just a few blocks away.
“I go home at 2 am because I work late,” said Klein, “Then boom! I felt like someone shot me.”
Klein said he almost fell down, and felt his blood pressure jump up. He heard screaming, and saw a black car speeding away. He then called a Jewish ambulance.
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Solomon Bonda, the owner of Bonda’s, was disturbed by the incident. Police confirmed it is one of five such attacks since they began in March.
“This place was considered a safe neighborhood,” said Bonda, “But things like this make people a little edgy and nervous.”
The same day, another Hasidic Jewish man was struck on the head with a bottle not far away on Driggs Ave at 1:00 am, reported Pix11.
Many in the Hasidic community declined to discuss the incidents. Yitchok F, a cashier at a nearby grocery story who did not want to give his full name, had not heard of the paintball incidents or the bottle attack. He said in his years of living in the neighborhood, he has never experienced any similar problems.
However, one Hasidic woman out with her three children who declined to give her name said that although she hadn’t heard about the incidents, “I try to not go out late at night, because you don’t know the things people could do.”
For Klein, the attack was not just painful, but shocking.
“We are not in Afghanistan,” he said, “We are in New York.”
As noted by the New York Post, a $2,500 reward is being offered by the police for information about the attacks.