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Rashid baz

Rashid Baz

Rashid Baz is a Lebanese-born immigrant to the United States known for carrying out a shooting attack on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1994. Baz shot and killed a young Jewish man named Ari Halberstam in retaliation for the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre of Muslim worshippers four days prior.

Background

On February 25, 1994, Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein attacked a mosque at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, West Bank. During his shooting rampage, Goldstein slaughtered 29 Muslims before being disarmed and beaten to death by the angry crowd.

On March 1, a group of Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish students visited the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who was badly ill in hospital in Manhattan. They were returning home to Brooklyn via the Brooklyn Bridge when the shooting began.

Shooting

Rashid Baz drove past the van carrying the students in his Blue Chevrolet and opened fire.The driver attempted to escape but Baz pursued the bus across the bridge, shooting at it while shouting "Kill the Jews!" Both sides of the bus were hit before Baz sped off into the traffic as the bridge descended into chaos. The wounded student were rushed to St. Vincent's hospital. Ari Halberstam, a 16-year-old, was struck in the head by a bullet and died in hospital four days later, the sole fatality from Baz's attack.

After fatally wounding Halberstam, Raz sped to a car repair shop and ordered an employee to fix his car at gunpoint. After he left, the employee called the police and informed them of the armed man driving around in a frenzied state. One of the car's windows remained broken, having been shattered during the shooting incident, and this allowed police to easily identify Baz as the culprit.

When Baz was arrested, it was initially suspected that he the shooting was an incident of road rage. In reality, Baz was enraged over Goldstein's massacre less than a week prior and later admitted that he had only targeted the students because they were Jewish.

Aftermath

The jury in Baz's trial rejected his plea of not guilty due to insanity and he was found guilty on one count of second-degree murder as well as further 14 counts of attempted murder. On January 18, 1995, he was sentenced to 141 years in prison. He was placed in Auburn Correctional Facility in upstate New York where he remains to this day.

Rebbe Schneerson passed away on the morning of June 12, 1994. The site where the killing occurred has been renamed the Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp.

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