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Group of six Jewish teens shot with paintball gun in Beachwood

Beachwood Police are still investigating the incident and are not calling it a hate crime
Beachwood police
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Posted at 5:47 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 18:33:22-04

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — Late last Friday evening near Green Rd and Fairmount Blvd in Beachwood, a group of six Jewish teens were walking when someone randomly shot them with a paintball gun.

News 5 spoke with Ephraim Blau who said the group of teens are his classmates.

"It was very quick my friends said, they said they were just walking by and out of nowhere they heard some shots,” said Blau. “One got hit in the face, one got hit in the stomach.”

Beachwood police are still investigating the incident and aren’t calling it a hate crime at this point.

Local Jewish leaders say this incident comes as hate spewed toward their community is rocketing.

"We've had several instances where acts have occurred against children and families in the past week," said J. David Heller, board chair for the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland.

The Anti-Defamation League of Ohio says the state recorded the highest number of Anti-Semitic incidents in 2020, since it started tracking them in 1979.

The ADL reported 25 incidents in 2019 and 43 incidents in 2020, these are instances described as harassment, violence and assault.

"The way to protect against it [anti-Semitic hate] is having our leaders and allies in the community speak out against it,” said Heller. “When we see it go unchecked we see it grow, and when we see it checked we see those folks crawl back under the rocks that they came out of."

“We really have to come together as a community and stand up for ourselves, because a lot of times people will shy away,” said Blau. “We really have to show that we're not scared."

Ohio Congressman David Joyce is pushing a bill in Washington D.C. called the Anti-Semitic Hate Crime Act. The bill would expedite the Department of Justice's review of anti-Semitic hate crimes and require the Attorney General to deliver a report examining anti-Semitic hate crimes and investigations to Congress within 90 days of the bill's enactment and every 90 days thereafter for the next three years.

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