On Wednesday, February 1, 2023, a suspect brandishing a weapon entered the San Francisco Jewish Center and fired multiple blank rounds in a room full of people during study hours.
The suspect, identified as 51-year-old Dmitri Mishin, was arrested on Friday, February 10, in connection with the incident that was captured on surveillance footage at the San Francisco synagogue.
The video showed the assailant wearing a baseball cap entering the Schneerson Jewish Center in the 2600 block of Balboa Street. Shortly after, he was seen mouthing a few words before pulling out a firearm and firing several (blank) rounds as a room full of people ducked for cover from the onslaught.
While no one was injured at the scene, a witness at the center, Matthew Finkelstein, told ABC News that they are still in shock over the incident.
Authorities tightened security at the San Francisco synagogue after the violent attack
On Friday, Dmitri Mishin was arrested after he fired several blank rounds at a San Francisco synagogue with a gun before fleeing the scene. The incident, which occurred around 7.20 pm on Wednesday, sent shockwaves amidst the congregants of the center, which is predominantly attended by Russian-speaking Jews.
Rabbi Chanukov, who described the attack as a hate crime on Fox News, added that moments before he shot off blank rounds, the suspect allegedly said, "Say hello to Mossad for me” to a room full of congregants:
"I believe that may have been when he said, 'Say hello to Mossad for me and so somehow he was harming Mossad by scaring the Jews in America at this one synagogue. I am not really clear. Obviously, I think the person is deranged, the person is mentally unwell."
In the wake of the incident, authorities tightened security at the center over the weekend for Shabbat prayers. San Francisco police said that a day before the suspect attacked the synagogue, he entered a theater in the 3600 block of Balboa Street, brandishing a gun, and immediately fled the scene. Authorities added that no one was injured at the scene.
A similar incident took place last week at a New Jersey synagogue that was set ablaze
The recent incident comes amid the intensified anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish community. Last week, a New Jersey synagogue was almost set ablaze by an unidentified arsonist early on Sunday, January 29, 2023.
The unidentified assailant was caught on camera hurling a Molotov cocktail at the synagogue's front door before fleeing the scene at Temple Ner Tamid, New Jersey. However, the incendiary device failed to ignite at the scene.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, which has tracked incidents for four decades, 2021 had the highest number of harassment, vandalism, and violence directed against Jews. ADL also predicted a similar fate in the corresponding years.