NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The family of the man who was seriously injured in the upstate synagogue stabbing late last month gave an update on his condition on Thursday morning.
They said his condition is critical and the prognosis dire.
The family spoke outside the home of Josef Neumann’s youngest daughter, Nicky Kohen. They released a picture of the 72-year-old father of seven, who is in intensive care at Westchester Medical Center with fractured skull and other injuries.
They want the public to see that graphic photo to register the horror of the attack. To see the unedited photo, click here. (Warning: Graphic content.)
Web Extra: Family Of Monsey Stabbing Victim Speaks Out:
Doctors told the Neumanns his injuries are grave. He’s in a coma and if he survives he may never walk or talk again, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
“When people ask, ‘Is he awake yet? Is he talking to you guys?’ And all I want to do is yell, ‘Do you understand the prognosis right now is that he really may never ever speak again? Or wake up, or walk or …’ They just don’t have hope. As a family, we do have hope,” Kohen said.
Neumann, a retired fish store owner, was one of five Orthodox Jews attacked by a man with a machete inside the Monsey home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg on Dec. 28. Son David Neumann said most Saturday nights he’s at Rottenberg’s home for the end of sabbath, but he missed the seventh night of Chanukah celebration and so was spared witnessing the attack on his father.
“If I was there I would be able to do something, and I would definitely try to do something,” David Neumann said.
The family said it is hoping for a miracle, praying their father wakes up to a world that is working on eliminating hate.
“We all believe that God has a plan. We guess he’s a big part of it to hope to make a big call for change. All types of hatred against any race, religion, orientation, anything else that anyone can think of just has to stop. Guys, I’m begging you, if you are watching this, stand up and stop this hatred,” Kohen said.
Suspect Grafton Thomas, 37, faces attempted murder and hate crime charges in the attack.
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In a conference call with reporters, Michael Sussman, Thomas’s attorney, revealed the suspect was on disability after a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Sussman said he’s found no evidence of hate or antisemitism in the suspect’s many pages of rambling writings.
Sussman said Thomas lived in Brooklyn for a time and worked as a sabbath helper for Jewish families.
Web Extra: Town Of Ramapo Officials Announce New Security Measures:
Back in Rockland County, as police continue to probe the Chanukah attack, the Town of Ramapo announced it was creating a ring of security.
“We are going to install license plate readers ringing the town, every exit and entrance to the town,” Supervisor Michael Specht said.
This move comes as Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel vowed to get answers following the attack at Rottenberg’s Forshay Road home.
“We want to know why and we’re working hard to figure that out,” Weidel said Thursday during a press conference.
Weidel also confirmed a possible connection to a Nov. 20 attack on a Jewish scholar on Howard Drive. Technology pinpointed an SUV belonging to the mother of suspect Thomas near that crime scene, and police questioned Thomas briefly during that investigation three weeks before the Chanukah attack.
“We had no evidence, no probable cause other than to follow a lead,” Weidel said.