Attempted Murder Charge Filed In Ramapo Arson Case Sparked By Religious Dispute

RAMAPO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) —  A charge of attempted murder has been added against an 18-year-old man who allegedly set a neighbor on fire in what may have been a religious dispute in a Hasidic Jewish village in Rockland County.

Ramapo police Chief Peter Brower said Monday that Shaul Spitzer of New Square was trying to burn down Aron Rottenberg’s house when both men suffered burns and were hospitalized Sunday.

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi With More On The Charges

Rottenberg prayed in a nearby senior center instead of at a big synagogue in New City. Because of that choice, he may have been targeted and is now recovering from severe burns following an arson attack at his home.

“It’s about control. I mean, they want to have control of the place and he didn’t obey by their rules,” Moshe Eblaum, the victim’s son-in-law, told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

Rottenberg apparently endured rocks being throw at his house and shouted threats before the arson attack.

It’s believed Spitzer was carrying rags soaked with flammable liquid and somehow tripped an alarm as he came to the Rottenberg’s back porch.

Spitzer was caught on one of the video cameras and people inside the house came out. A struggle ensued and there was a burst of flames. By the time police got there, Rottenberg was seated on the steps badly burned.

Brower said the 43-year-old Rottenberg had third-degree burns on half his body. Spitzer had burns on his hands and arms. He now faces charges of arson, assault and attempted murder. Police did not know if he had a lawyer.

“We are not going to tolerate this. We will follow this investigation to wherever it may take as far as anyone else that may be involved,” Town Supervisor Chris St. Lawrence said.

The accused arsonist will likely be arraigned at his beside at Cornell Burn Center in Manhattan. When he’s well enough he’ll be brought back to the Rockland County Jail on charges that could get him 25 years in prison.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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  • diultbipt
  • Brian from nyc

    Won’t hurt a fly!!! Buddy when was your last time watching any news channel beside fox news!! They kill women and children daily. Soft spoken!!! Aren’t serial killer and child molesters are all soft spoken!!!

    • book

      You are full of it, you have no statistic to proof your allegation, but you are still accusing all Hasidim for murders, when the fact is just the opposite (this is the reason why this story is in the news…), good sample how bad it is to have the sickness called racism.

  • FedupHasid

    This guy is no black sheep, our leadership is the most corrupt in all of the US.
    It’s our community organizers that cause all that.

  • FedupHasid

    Please like this page and spread the word, the town supervisor is trying to cover up the story.

    • KPMc

      So… you’re saying a politician has only been going along with your community’s demands because he wants your votes and is afraid what a group that votes in a block can do to his political career?

      Shocking… someone should let the world know this is going on. Shocking!

  • stephi

    The news media and the politcians make out the hasidics as so religious. They are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites. They are not jews. They are a cult, nothing more. When they can’t get their way, they cry antisemitism. By the way mayor Bloomburg, what did you mean when you said in a synagogue in Brooklyn when you said if there is anything you need, just let me know. You know who runs the city. Just asking.

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