MANHATTAN — The NYPD stepped up security at Jewish institutions on Monday after a gunman at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, shot and killed a teacher and three children.
Though there was no specific threat, extra police presence was added to more than 50 Jewish centers across the city, including Yeshiva University in Washington Heights, Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side, Temple Emanu-EL on the Upper East Side to the Lubavitch headquarters on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, NYPD officials said.
"We have a significant Jewish population in this city, and we have to take that into account," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters. "We know that we're the top of the terrorist target list, so we're concerned about the so-called copy-cat syndrome, where someone might see the events unfolding in Toulouse and take it upon themselves to act out."
The NYPD primariy increased the number of uniformed officers at synagogues and other Jewish organizations, Kelly said.
The gunman in Toulouse fled on a scooter and is still at large, according to reports. The incident is believed to be linked to the killings of three soldiers of North African descent in two incidents last week, the BBC said.
Jonathan Sandler, 30, a Judaic studies teacher at Toulouse's Ozar Hatorah, his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons and the second-grade daughter of another faculty member were killed as they waited for a bus to take them to the Chabad-Lubavitch run Gan Rashi elementary school, according to Chabad.org.
"We don't know if it's a lone wolf," Kelly said. "Reports are so far that it's one person on a scooter who had perhaps a 45-caliber handgun. That’s the type of thing that we have to have on our radar screen — difficult to prevent, difficult to stop, we understand that, but we feel an obligation to increase the coverage at sensitive locations throughout the city."