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UPDATE: San Diego police release pictures of hate crime suspect who attacked rabbi

hate crime suspect -- college area rabbi attack
Posted at 11:44 AM, Aug 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-23 14:44:04-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The San Diego Police Department says it needs the public's help to identify a suspect who threatened and attacked a rabbi in the College Area last month.

According to police, the assault happened a little before 10 a.m. on July 24 inside the 7-Eleven store at 5141 College Ave. The 65-year-old victim, Rabbi Aharon Shapiro, was wearing his Yarmulke and tzitzits, which are traditional Jewish garments.

The suspect asked Shapiro if he was Jewish, then started screaming an antisemitic tirade at him. The suspect also ripped off part of Shapiro's religious clothing.

SDPD's press release indicates the suspect ran away from the store, but they're unsure which way he went.

Police described the suspect as a white man in his late 20s to early 30s, who is about 5 feet 8 inches with an "average build." The suspect also has long wavy hair, possibly dreadlocks. The department included surveillance photos of the suspect in its release.

ABC 10News spoke to Shapiro a few days after the violent encounter, and he had a message to share.

“Get the American public aware of what is happening is very important and very critical to ending all hate; not only against Jewish hate but hate in America in general,” Shapiro said.

Tipsters can receive up to $3,500 in rewards for information leading to an arrest; the StandWithUs nonprofit group is offering $2,500 in reward money, while San Diego County Crime Stoppers is offering $1,000.

If you have information that will help investigators, reach out to SDPD at 858-495-7900. You can stay anonymous with your tip by reaching out to Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.