In his journal, prosecutors said, he wrote about Hitler and “Nazi culture.” On his phone, he searched online for “why did Hitler hate the Jews” at least four times and looked for “prominent companies founded by Jews in America.”
On Monday, new details emerged about the man accused of stabbing five Jewish people at a Hanukkah celebration in the New York suburbs when federal prosecutors filed hate crime charges against him.
These details, according to a criminal complaint, could suggest what led the man, Grafton Thomas, to go on a bloody rampage on Saturday in Monsey, N.Y., a hamlet northwest of New York City with a large community of ultra-Orthodox Jews.
The charges against Mr. Thomas came as police departments across New York and New Jersey stepped up patrols in Jewish neighborhoods and dispatched officers in front of synagogues and yeshivas.
The complaint was filed in Federal District Court in White Plains, N.Y., by the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Thomas, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, appeared in court shortly after 2:30 p.m. on Monday.
“Are you clear in your head?” Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison asked him.
“Not clear, your honor,” said Mr. Thomas, who added that he needed rest.
Mr. Thomas’s family has said that he has a long history of mental illness, including schizophrenia.
But prosecutors, in the complaint, suggested that Mr. Thomas, who is from the nearby village of Greenwood Lake, N.Y., had a history of anti-Semitism. In one piece of writing, he used a phrase that investigators said appeared to reference the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a fringe religious movement with offshoots that have been described as hate groups.
The assault in Monsey further rattled the Jewish community in the New York region after a series of anti-Semitic incidents in New York City last week and a deadly mass shooting in Jersey City, N.J., that targeted a kosher supermarket earlier in the month.
In an interview on Monday morning on NPR, the public radio network, Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the recent attacks: “We consider this a crisis. Really, there is a growing anti-Semitism problem in this whole country. It has taken a more and more violent form.”
In Rockland County, where the attack on Saturday took place, the county executive, Ed Day, announced on Monday that a private security firm would work with the police to provide armed guards to synagogues in Monsey.
“We cannot stand around and do nothing,” Mr. Day said. “We are taking proactive action in order to address the concerns, the fears that are out there.”
Rockland County has more than 300,000 people, and 31 percent of the population is Jewish, according to the state. It is believed to have one of the largest populations of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside of Israel.
In recent years, the area’s ultra-Orthodox population has grown as Hasidic families from New York City, priced out of their neighborhoods, have relocated there. Despite the distance, residents in both places retain close ties with one another.
The barrage of incidents has left Jewish neighborhoods feeling under siege during Hanukkah, a celebration of when Jews had defied aggressors to openly practice their faith.
“People are afraid to send their kids out to school,” said Benny Polatseck, 30, an Orthodox Jewish community activist who lives in Monsey.
The five victims of the attack at the home of the rabbi, Chaim Rottenberg, were taken to the hospital. Several were treated there and released. At least one victim remained in the hospital with a skull fracture, officials said.
Mr. Thomas, 38, was later arrested in Harlem, about 30 miles from Monsey, with blood on his clothes, officials said. According to the complaint, officers found both a machete and a bloody knife in his car.
On Sunday, Mr. Thomas pleaded not guilty to five counts of state charges of attempted murder and one count of first-degree burglary. In federal case, Mr. Thomas was charged on Monday with five counts — the attempted murder of each his five victims as they exercised their religious beliefs.
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement that Mr. Thomas had “targeted his victims in the midst of a religious ceremony, transforming a joyous Hanukkah celebration into a scene of carnage and pain.”
If convicted on any of the counts, Mr. Thomas faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, federal prosecutors said. Under the law, if any of the victims dies as a result of his injuries, Mr. Thomas could face the death penalty.
The federal case is expected to take place before any state case, prosecutors said.
Mr. Thomas’s lawyer, Michael H. Sussman, told reporters at a news conference on Monday that he had asked the Rockland County district attorney to agree to have Mr. Thomas undergo a 30-day evaluation in a hospital.
Mr. Sussman said that earlier in the day, Mr. Thomas told him that a voice, or voices, in his head had commanded him to go to that location in Monsey and retrieve or destroy a piece of property.
“My impression is that the situation he found where he went in was not the situation he expected to find, and that may have been a trigger for him,” Mr. Sussman said at his office in Goshen, N.Y., flanked by Mr. Thomas’s mother, Kim Thomas, who is a nurse, and the family’s pastor, the Rev. Wendy Paige.
Mr. Sussman said Mr. Thomas suffered from psychosis and major depressive disorder, and had been prescribed several drugs.
Mr. Thomas had never spoken to either his mother or pastor about Jews or anti-Semitism, the lawyer and Ms. Paige said.
But prosecutors said in the federal complaint that investigators had found handwritten journals at Mr. Thomas’s home in which he expressed anti-Semitic views.
On one page, he questioned why people “mourned for anti-Semitism when there is Semitic genocide,” the complaint said.
According to the complaint, Mr. Thomas also appeared to make a reference to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a religious group to which officials also linked one of the attackers in the Jersey City shooting.
While the movement is not known for promoting violence, some of its offshoots have been described as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, which track extremist organizations.
Officials have not linked the stabbings and the Jersey City shooting, and they have not established whether Mr. Thomas was a follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement.
The federal complaint also said Mr. Thomas had made online search queries suggesting anti-Semitic views as early as Nov. 9. In recent weeks, it said, he searched for “German Jewish Temples near me,” and “Zionist Temples” in Elizabeth, N.J., and in Staten Island.
On the day of the stabbings, Mr. Thomas’s phone browser was used to call up an article titled “New York City Increases Police Presence in Jewish Neighborhoods After Possible Anti-Semitic Attacks. Here’s What to Know,” the complaint said.
Mr. Cuomo said on Sunday that he had ordered the State Police’s hate crimes force to investigate the rampage. He also called the attack an “act of domestic terrorism,” the phrase that officials eventually used to describe the Jersey City shooting.
As of Sunday, New York City had seen a 23 percent rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes so far this year, according to police data.
Since the attack in Jersey City on Dec. 10, the New York Police Department had been deploying more officers to protect synagogues, the police commissioner, Dermot F. Shea, said.
After further anti-Semitic incidents, including the stabbings in Monsey, the department also stepped up patrols in some Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Kevin Armstrong, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Rebecca Liebson and Ali Watkins contributed reporting.
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