Related video: Jewish leader Samantha Woll laid to rest
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A suspect has been arrested over the fatal stabbing of synagogue leader Samantha Woll that shocked the Detroit community.
Detroit Police Chief James White announced the arrest in a statement released on Tuesday 8 November.
“While this is an encouraging development in our desire to bring closure for Ms Woll’s family, it does not represent the conclusion of our work in this case,” Chief White said. “The details of the investigation will remain confidential at this time to ensure the integrity of the important steps that remain.”
At around 6.30am on Saturday 21 October, the 40-year-old leader of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue was found stabbed to death at her home in the Lafayette Park neighbourhood.
Authorities believe she was attacked inside her home and then stumbled out before collapsing on the sidewalk.
Detroit Police Chief James White said at a press conference that his agency was working in partnership with the FBI and Michigan State Police and has already identified persons of interest.
Chief White also said there was no evidence suggesting the murder was a hate crime.
“We are working through what we have identified as some persons of interest … but we are very early in the investigation,” he said. “We have a number of people who give us interest, we are just short of calling one of the people a suspect.”
Woll once worked as a former aide to Democratic Rep Elissa Slotkin and campaign staffer for Attorney General Dana Nessel.
WATCH: Investigation ongoing into killing of Detroit synagogue president Samantha Woll
Investigation ongoing into killing of Detroit synagogue president Samantha Woll
Andrea Blanco26 October 2023 23:30
‘She fought for everyone’
Samantha Woll’s sister Monica Woll Rosen shared with mourners how the slain synagogue president “fought for everyone.”
“You sent hearts to cheer people up and let them know you’re thinking of them — because you cared,” Ms Woll Rosen said, revealing that a friend of her late sister had received flowers from her on the day of her death, according to The New York Post.
“That was you, Sam,” Ms Woll Rosen added. “You didn’t even ask. You just sent flowers and signed 10 other people’s names because you knew it would make the receiver happy — and the others would have wanted to say happy birthday if they knew it was your birthday.”
Andrea Blanco26 October 2023 21:30
Samantha Woll’s neighbour reveals disturbing incident around time of murder
A couple who lives near the home where a Detroit synagogue leader was killed over the weekend has revealed a disturbing incident that occurred around the time of the murder.
Samantha Woll, 40, was found stabbed to death at her home in the Lafayette neighbourhood in the early morning hours of Saturday. Police officials said that it is believed she was attacked inside the home and walked to the street before collapsing on the sidewalk.
Andrea Blanco26 October 2023 19:30
Synagogue plans community gathering to honour slain president
The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue announced plans to celebrate slain president Samantha Woll’s life on Friday.
“Before Shabbat, come together to grieve, share stories, and be in community as we remember Sam,” the congregation wrote in a Facebook post. “Sam loved Shabbat, and being together on Shabbat is a way to honor her memory, “
There will be a candle lighting at 6.30pm on Friday.
Andrea Blanco26 October 2023 17:30
‘She acted with profound solidarity,’ Samantha Woll’s friend says
In an opinion piece published on Monday The Jewish Daily Forward, Rabbi Alana Alpert wrote that Woll had been planning a Muslim-Jewish dinner in the weeks that preceded her death.
“That request really epitomized her: always thoughtful, always building welcoming and diverse communities, always acting from profound solidarity,” Alpert wrote.
Alpert also touched on the speculation surrounding Woll’s death, asking the community not to jump to conclusions and wait until the investigation is concluded.
Authorities said earlier this week that Woll’s stabbing is not believed to have been motivated by anti-Semitism.
Andrea Blanco26 October 2023 15:30
Samantha Woll remembered for her interfaith work
The Michigan chapter of Council on American Islamic Relations called her death a “tragic loss,” noting interfaith work with Woll’s congregation.
That included a prayer vigil for the victims of the deadly 2018 attack on a Pennsylvania synagogue.
“We are troubled by the horrific murder of Samantha Woll, a beloved leader within her faith community in Metro Detroit,” said Dawud Walid, the Muslim advocacy group’s executive director, in a Saturday statement.
Andrea Blanco26 October 2023 13:30
Synagogue leader Samantha Woll was stabbed to death in her home. Police have no idea why
Authorities in Detroit believe that 40-year-old Samantha Woll was attacked inside her home in the Lafayette Park neighbourhood.
Woll, the president of Isaac Agree Downtown synagogue, left a trail of blood as she stumbled outside of her home and eventually collapsed on the sidewalk.
The Independent’s Andrea Blanco reports:
Andrea Blanco26 October 2023 11:30
Police say it is confident antisemitism was not motive in Woll’s killing
A motive in Woll’s murder has yet to be established. The possibility of a home invasion has been ruled out.
Detroit police corporal Dan Donakowski said during an update on Sunday that Woll’s death is being investigated as a homicide but there is no evidence suggesting the murder was a hate crime. He said that investigators had found a large Israeli flag in Woll’s home that was left untouched, according to ClickOnDetroit.
Chief White said on Monday that his department is seeking a suspect believed to have acted alone, and noted he doesn’t think there is a threat to the community at large. He also asked the public to be patient and not jump to conclusions as evidence is reviewed and processed.
“We are not in the position to discuss [details,]” Chief White said. “There are certain factors that are only shared by the suspect and our investigators.”
Andrea Blanco26 October 2023 09:30
Detroit community mourns the passing of synagogue leader Samantha Woll
Detroit community mourns the passing of synagogue leader Samantha Woll
Andrea Blanco26 October 2023 07:30
Woll led the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue since 2022
She has been remembered by loved ones as a leader who worked to unite people through her interfaith work. Dawud Walid, president of the Council on American Islamic Relations’s Michigan chapter, called Woll’s death a “tragic loss” and praised her efforts to unite the Jewish and Muslim communities in Detroit.
“We are troubled by the apparent homicide of Samantha Woll, a beloved leader within her faith community in Metro Detroit,” Mr Walid said in a statement. “We also send our sincere condolences to her family and friends and to the Detroit Jewish community as a whole for the tragic loss.”
According to a 2017 article by The Detroit Jewish News, Woll was “instrumental in the founding of the Muslim-Jewish Forum of Detroit,” an alliance that helps build bonds between Jewish and Muslim youth.
“By extending her hand and creating space for connection between Muslims and Jews, she has exemplified the values of healing the world,” the article read.
Andrea Blanco26 October 2023 05:30