The suspect in the Hanukkah stabbings that injured five people last week had previously been interviewed by police in connection with another stabbing of a Jewish man in the same town, according to Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel. Grafton Thomas, 37, was questioned by police after an Orthodox Jewish man had been stabbed on Nov. 20 while walking to a synagogue in Monsey, New York, Weidel told CNN. Police interviewed Thomas after seeing a surveillance video that showed a gray Honda Pilot, which investigators believed was the same car registered to his mother. “At this moment in time I cannot stand here and say definitively that it was a Honda Pilot. And neither can the FBI,” Weidel told CNN. Thomas’ attorney Michael Sussman, who did not represent Thomas or his mother at the time, said Thursday that Thomas’ mother was also questioned in November.
Sussman told reporters Thursday that Thomas had stopped taking his mental health medication in October. “My goal is to have a full portrait of this individual before we start calling him this that and this thing,” Sussman said. “There’s something here seriously wrong. How it manifested itself was horrible. It doesn’t help to call him a name that arouses a whole community.” Thomas has pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder in connection with stabbings during a Hanukkah celebration. Federal prosecutors also charged him with obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill, which is a federal hate crime.