Miami Jewish Community on Edge After Shooting Outside Synagogue
Police in Florida were investigating a potential hate crime on Monday, following the wounding of a 58-year-old man in a drive-by shooting outside a synagogue in Miami the previous evening.
The man, who was named on Monday afternoon as Yosef Lifshutz, was shot outside the Young Israel of Greater Miami synagogue where he is a member.
Miami-Dade police detective Alvaro Zabaleta told news outlets that the attacker got out of a black Chevrolet Impala at around 6:30 p.m. Sunday and shot Lifshutz as he approached the front door of the Young Israel of Greater Miami temple.
Lifshutz, who was shot several times in the leg, was taken to Aventura Medical Center. Officials have not released a description of the suspected shooter.
The rabbi of the synagogue described Lifshutz as an esteemed member of the community.
“He’s a wonderful person,” Rabbi David Lehrfield told local broadcaster WSVN. “Everybody loves him.”
Police have not ruled out the possibility that they are dealing with a hate crime. At the same time, they emphasized that such a determination was not possible this early on in the investigation.
“In order to classify a crime a hate crime, there are several elements that need to be present,” a Miami-Dade Police spokesperson told Fox News. “And that’s what investigators are looking into as we speak.”
Synagogue member Yehuda Kaploun told broadcaster Local 10 News that the shooting had set the community on edge.
“The investigation has to run its course, but anytime that someone is shot sitting outside a synagogue, it’s going to create fear in the Jewish community,” Kaploun said.
Damon Salzman, president of Young Israel of Greater Miami, posted on the temple’s Facebook page that the person who shot Lifshutz is a bully.
“It does not take a criminal mastermind to shoot an elderly person sitting on a bench. It does not take terrorist to try and kill someone isolated and defenseless,” Salzman wrote. “It takes a coward. It takes someone without courage to attack an elderly defenseless man sitting in front of a place of sanctuary. It takes someone devoid of humanity.”