New York police have 'person of interest' in Cornell antisemitic threats in custody

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Tuesday that a person of interest in relation to threats of a mass shooting and antisemitic violence at Cornell University had been identified by law enforcement. 

"This individual is currently in New York State Police custody for questioning," Hochul wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"When I met with Cornell students yesterday, I promised them we would do everything possible to find the perpetrator. Public safety is my top priority, and I'm committed to combating hate and bias wherever it rears its ugly head," the governor added. 

New York State Police also confirmed to Fox News that a person of interest is being questioned. "This is an active investigation, and we refer you to the Cornell University PD for further information," state police said. 


Earlier Tuesday, Hochul had delivered a message of "solidarity" to New Yorkers a day after she visited Jewish students at Cornell University's Center for Jewish Living who have received online death threats amid the Israel-Hamas war, insisting there is "zero tolerance" for antisemitism, Islamophobia or "hate or any kind." 


Students on Libe Slope at the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, US, on Tuesday, April 11, 2023. Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a video, the Democrat announced that she tapped Judge Jonathan Lippman, the former chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, to conduct an independent third party review of CUNY [City University of New York] policies and procedures related to antisemitism and discrimination. 

"We will take on the antisemitism we have seen on college campuses. The problem didn't begin with the weeks following October 7th attacks. It's been growing on a number of campuses," she said. "While his assessment will be focused on CUNY, his recommendations will be a roadmap for institutions across the state and the country. My commitment to your safety is unwavering, but we can't do it alone."

The governor also evoked the demonstrations seen in New York and across the country following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020, asking activists where are the "allies" of Jewish New Yorkers now. 

"Hate crimes after Muslims rose in the aftermath of 9/11," Hochul said. "And New Yorkers of all faiths stood up for them. Hate crimes against Asian Americans rose during the pandemic, and New Yorkers of all origins stood up for them. And after George Floyd was murdered, New Yorkers of all races stood up for Black Lives Matter. Today, Jewish New Yorkers are experiencing the greatest increase in antisemitic hate crimes in decades. And I must ask, where are their allies now?"

Hochul said she's spoken to CUNY and SUNY [State University of New York] chancellors and representatives of private universities to share concerns about the "consequences of free speech, crossing the line into hate speech by both students and professors," as well as ensure they're following hate bias reporting hotline laws signed in September that aim to ensure complaints are followed up on. Hochul said she also mobilized state police to support local authorities as they increased protection for campuses, synagogues, mosques and cultural institutions. 

Hochul also announced up to $75 million in grants for local police departments and houses of worship in response to the increase in hate crimes. 

The governor, who recently traveled to Israel to witness the October 7 atrocities committed by Hamas against Jewish civilians firsthand, said she called for the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza, release of hostages and condemned videos showing "heartless protesters" in New York ripping down posters of Jewish hostages held by Hamas. 

As for Jewish New Yorkers with missing relatives, Hochul said, "they suffer again at the image of their loved ones' photo being ripped down by heartless protesters as though their lives don't matter." 

"This cruelty by New Yorkers against New Yorkers must stop," the governor said. "I'm also making sure that our law enforcement is focused and has the resources to identify and stop criminal behavior and hate crimes. Violators will be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." 

"Today I'm calling all New Yorkers to action. Stand up for what's right. Look out for your fellow New Yorkers. If you see someone being harassed on the street or in your neighborhood, don't let them be alone," she said. "We cannot let the fervor and passion of our beliefs devolve into a blind righteousness that cannot see differing viewpoints and the safety and security of New Yorkers cannot and will not be threatened without consequences." 

"Let me be clear: We cannot allow hate and intimidation to become normalized," she added on X. 

Fox News' Tamara Gitt contributed to this report. Read more of this story from FOX News