Authorities say a 71-year-old Plainfield man fatally stabbed a 6-year-old boy and inflicted serious wounds on a 32-year-old woman at their home Saturday, targeting them because of their Muslim faith and the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Joseph M. Czuba is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of hate crime and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, Will County sheriff’s police said Sunday.
Czuba was in custody Sunday at the Will County jail awaiting his first court appearance.
Authorities did not release the victims’ names, but the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations identified them as Hanaan Shahin and her son, Wadea Al-Fayoume, and described them as Palestinian Americans.
“Our hearts are heavy, and our prayers are with the darling boy and his mother,” Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR-Chicago, said in a written statement. “As we await the official investigation of the local authorities, what we can confirm at the moment is that we have a murdered child in his own home, a 6-year who had just celebrated his birthday a couple of weeks ago, and a mother lying in the hospital in serious condition, both stabbed over a dozen times.”
Sheriff’s police said deputies were sent to the residence near the 16200 block of South Lincoln Highway in Plainfield Township at approximately 11:38 a.m. Saturday, after the woman called 911 saying her landlord had attacked her with a knife.
Deputies found the boy and the woman in a bedroom, both suffering from stab wounds to their chest, torso and upper extremities, according to the sheriff’s office.
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