A man deliberately targeted and stabbed a boy and a woman who were both Muslim in suburban Plainfield Township on Saturday morning, resulting in the death of the boy and critical injury of the woman, police say.
According to the Will County Sheriff, a 32-year-old woman called 911 and reported that her landlord was attacking her with a knife.
The police discovered the woman and a 6-year-old boy with several stab wounds. An autopsy revealed that the boy had been stabbed 26 times.
They were taken to a nearby hospital, where the boy’s death was confirmed. The woman is currently recuperating from her injuries at a hospital in the area and is anticipated to make it through.
Hanaan Shahin, the mother, and her son, Wadea Al-Fayoume, had been living on the ground floor of the house for two years without any significant issues with the landlord, who is 71-year-old Joseph Czuba, as reported.
According to written text messages reportedly sent to the boy’s father by the mother from the hospital and shared with CAIR-Chicago, the landlord, who had expressed anger towards the news, knocked on their door. When the mother opened the door, he attempted to choke her and then proceeded to attack her with a knife while yelling, “You Muslims must die!” The mother ran into the bathroom to call 911, and upon returning, she discovered that the landlord had fatally stabbed her six-year-old son.
The police discovered the suspect, Joseph Czuba, who is 71 years old, outside the residence and apprehended him. Czuba has been arrested for first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two hate crimes, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
According to authorities, the suspect intentionally targeted both victims because of their Muslim identity and the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“Our hearts are heavy, and our prayers are with the darling boy and his mother,” said Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago Executive Director. “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 six-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. And we have testimony from the mother as to the harrowing moments that unfolded in terms of what was done and said – and it is our worst nightmare.
“We have full confidence in the authorities to investigate this heinous incident as a hate crime and to do so swiftly.”