The president of a synagogue in the United States has been found stabbed to death outside her home, according to police, who cautioned against speculation over the motive.
Samantha Woll, the head of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue, was found dead “with multiple stab wounds”, police in Detroit said on Saturday.
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Police said a trail of blood led officers to the 40-year-old Jewish leader’s home, where the crime is believed to have occurred.
Detroit Police Department chief James E White asked the public to be patient and not draw conclusions until police fully investigated the case.
“Over the course of the last several hours, the DPD has mobilised many of its resources and has been leveraging every law enforcement and community resource it has to help further the investigation,” White said in a statement.
“An update on the investigation will be forthcoming tomorrow.”
The FBI is assisting in the investigation at the request of Detroit police.
Detroit has long ranked as one of the most violent cities in the US, with a crime rate well above the national average.
Woll’s death comes as authorities are handling an increasing number of reports of threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities amid tensions over the Israel-Hamas war.
On Thursday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said he had directed local authorities to reach out to religious communities in their districts to “reaffirm our commitment to them and to assess what additional support they may need”.
Last week, a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy was stabbed to death near Chicago in what authorities say was a hate crime motivated by the current fighting in the Middle East.
Besides her connections to Detroit’s Jewish community, Woll was known for her work with the Democratic Party on local and state campaigns.
Political leaders in the state of Michigan, including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, state Attorney General Dana Nessel and US Representative Rashida Tlaib, expressed condolences over her death.
“My friend, and a member of our organizing community, Sam Woll, was murdered. I have no words,” Tlaib said in a Facebook post.
“She always had a sweet smile to offer and the warmest eyes to greet you. Our community is devastated and shocked.”