Hanukkah Stabbing Suspect Was Kicked Out of Marine Corps Boot Camp

Grafton Thomas
Ramapo police officers escort Grafton Thomas from Ramapo Town Hall to a police vehicle, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Ramapo, N.Y. Thomas is accused of stabbing multiple people as they gathered to celebrate Hanukkah at a rabbi's home in the Orthodox Jewish community north of New York City. (AP Photo/Julius Constantine Motal)

A man charged with attempted murder after allegedly attacking five people at a New York Hanukkah celebration shipped off to Marine Corps boot camp in 2002, but never completed it.

Grafton Thomas, the 37-year-old suspect facing hate crime charges after reportedly entering a rabbi's home this weekend and attacking several people with a machete, started boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, in November 2002. He was separated about five weeks into the 13-week training program.

He remained in recruit status, never earning the title of Marine.

Thomas was likely separated so soon into training over an injury or other medical condition that he didn't disclose at the time of his enlistment, a Marine official said. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity since they aren't authorized to discuss personal administrative records.

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Thomas was officially separated from the Marine Corps on Dec. 24, 2002, according to his service records.

The New York Post reported Monday that it had obtained Thomas' handwritten resume, in which he referenced his Marine Corps training. Thomas, the Post reported, listed several Marine Corps achievements, including "mental discipline," "Survival skills," "Teamwork" and "How to function under pressure."

Thomas allegedly carried out the attack in Monsey, about 35 miles north of New York City, on Saturday. Dozens were gathered at a rabbi's home outside a synagogue where they were celebrating the seventh night of Hanukkah.

The day after he pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder, Thomas faced federal hate crime charges, NBC News reported on Monday. Those charges were brought after he allegedly used a cellphone to search for "Why did Hitler hate the Jews" and for nearby German Jewish and Zionist temples, according to NBC.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins. =

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