Lebanese charged over Brooklyn attack on Hasidic Jews: Police find arsenal of weapons in suspect's car, including 'street-sweeper' shotgun and bullet-proof vest

IN WHAT Mayor Rudolph Giuliani proclaimed as a 'stunning' piece of detective work by his police force, a 28-year-old Lebanese man was charged with Tuesday's shooting attack in Brooklyn on a van carrying Hasidic students. Four of the students were hit: one is brain-dead and another on the critical list with brain injuries.

The man charged is Assad Bahz, who entered the United States on a student visa in 1984 and has been living in Brooklyn. The police, who said they had 'not ruled out nor ruled in' a conspiracy in the shooting, found an arsenal of weapons in Mr Bahz's car and apartment, including an automatic shotgun known as the 'street-sweeper', two pistols, a bullet-proof vest and boxes of ammunition. 'This man was not going deer-hunting,' said the New York district attorney, Robert Morgenthau.

After an anonymous tip-off, police arrested Mr Bahz in a dawn raid on his Brooklyn apartment. He had been traced there from a car-repair shop where police said he had gone to replace the passenger-seat window of the car used during the shooting and which had been blown out by bullets. The police commissioner, William Bratton, said he was 'very comfortable that Mr Bahz is the shooter'.

Two other people were being questioned in connection with the shooting, in which the rabbinical students were wounded with shots from a 9mm machine pistol. Police said they had made no link so far with the mosque massacre last week in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The investigation was a political coup for the new Mayor and his new police chief. Mr Giuliani's predecessor, David Dinkins, had been criticised for responding too slowly to a riot between blacks and Jews in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn in the summer of 1991.

In praising New York's 'finest', as the country's largest police department is known, the Mayor appealed to New Yorkers to 'show America and the world' that they could rise above their anger at the shooting and not blame a whole community because one of its members turned to violence.

The police department is on high alert as a result of the shooting, and also because the verdicts are expected any hour on four Islamic militants charged with the World Trade Center bombing a year ago.

Security has been increased at the 800 Jewish schools in New York attended by more than 130,000 students. The 15 students in the van that was shot up had been visiting Grand Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the spiritual leader of the Lubavitch sect, who was in hospital undergoing minor eye surgery. The rabbi, who is 91 and proclaimed by some as the Messiah, has steered the group from a poor Brooklyn-based sect of East European origin into a wealthy worldwide organisation.

The student declared clinically brain-dead, Aaron Halberstam, aged 15, was chosen by the rabbi when he was only three to be his personal student. Friends say Mr Halberstam wanted to become a schliach, a rabbinical messenger for the Lubavitchers who would travel to other communities and open schools of religious instruction. His Israeli-born father, Chesed Halberstam, was an intimate of the Grand Rabbi and once served as his caretaker and cook.

The other victims, one shot in the hand and the other in the buttocks, were between 18 and 20.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism