Ari Halberstam

Ari Halberstam

The Brooklyn Bridge Shooting occurred on March 1, 1994. In the attack, Lebanese-born immigrant Rashid Baz shot at a van of 15 Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish students that was traveling on the Brooklyn Bridge. He used a Cobray MAC-11 fully automatic pistol to strafe the van, and a Glock 17 9mm semi-automatic pistol to shoot at students. He also had a 12-gauge Armsel Striker shotgun in his trunk.

Four students were shot. The two most seriously wounded included Ari Halberstam, a sixteen-year-old, who died four days later from a shot to the head. The other student, also shot in the head, suffered permanent major speech impediments.

Amir Abudaif, an auto mechanic, reported the incident to the police. During the arrest, Baz was also found to be in possession of anti-Jewish literature, a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a stun gun, a bulletproof vest, and two 50-round ammunition magazines. Initially, Baz claimed a traffic dispute led him to commit the shootings, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation initially classified the case as road rage. However, at the trial, Baz pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His defense team also offered the theory that Baz was reacting to events in the Middle East. The jury rejected both defenses, and Baz was convicted of second degree murder and 14 additional counts of attempted murder in New York Supreme Court on December 1, 1994. He was sentenced to 141 years to life in prison.

Bassam Reyati, uncle of Baz and the owner of the car, was convicted of concealing evidence, and was sentenced to 5 years of probation and a $1,000 fine on October 16, 1996. Hilal Abd Al-Aziz Muhammad, owner of the car repair shop Baz used to hide the damage to his car, was convicted of concealing evidence and hindering prosecution. He was sentenced to five years of probation on May 17, 1995. Albert Jeanniton was convicted for illegally selling one of the guns obtained by Baz.

In 2000, U. S. District Attorney (Manhattan) Mary Jo White and the Federal Bureau of Investigation re-classified the attack as "the crimes of a terrorist."

Read more about Ari Halberstam:  Sentencing of Rashid Baz, Victim, Legacy

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