PLAINFIELD, Ill. — The Plainfield community gathered on Tuesday evening to remember and honor the life of a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy who was killed over the weekend in what prosecutors said was a hate crime.
Hundreds made their way to a Bridgeview mosque Monday to pray and say goodbye to Wadea, who was fatally stabbed more than two dozen times over the weekend.
According to the Will County Sheriff’s Office, authorities responded to the 16200 block of South Lincoln Highway in unincorporated Plainfield Township on reports of a woman being attacked by her landlord with a knife Saturday morning.
71-year-old Joseph Czuba allegedly attacked Hanaan Shahin, 32, with a large blade following an argument about the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Shahin suffered over a dozen stab wounds after she stated she was Muslim.
Her son, Wadea, was reportedly stabbed 26 times during the incident and later died at a local hospital.
Czuba is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of hate crime and two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Czuba’s wife told detectives that he listened to conservative talk radio and believed the boy and his mother would have people over to attack him.
Leaders of the Palestinian-American community said the crime confirms what, they believe, since the start of the war has been an atmosphere of hate.
The superintendent of Dist. 202 called the attack devastating. There will be social workers and counselors at schools for students and staff who may need it.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, Gov. JB Pritzker and several members of Congress attended a vigil for the child after his funeral Monday.
Tuesday’s vigil was held at Prairie Activity and Rec Center in Plainfield.