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No evidence of hate crime in synagogue president killing – police – BBC News

Samantha Woll “always had the biggest smile on”, a colleague said

The killing of the president of a synagogue in Detroit does not appear to be a hate crime, police have said.

Samantha Woll was found stabbed to death near her home after police responded to a call in the Lafayette Park area on Saturday.

“No evidence has surfaced suggesting that this crime was motivated by antisemitism,” said Detroit Police Chief James White.

Officials paid tribute to Ms Woll as “one of Detroit’s great young leaders”.

A trail of blood led police from her body to her house, where they believe the killing took place.

They have been searching the area with dogs but there is no information about who carried out the killing or why.

Michigan State Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote that she was “shocked and horrified to learn of Sam’s brutal murder”.

And state governor Gretchen Whitmer described it as a “vicious crime”.

“She was a source of light, a beacon in her community who worked hard to make Michigan a better place,” she said in a statement.

Sam Dubin, assistant director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, told the BBC’s US partner CBS that Ms Woll “always had the biggest smile on”.

“Whatever you were thinking or doing before, talking with Sam allowed you to put the nonsense of the world aside for just a moment,” he said.

In a statement released on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday, Police Chief White said the investigation into Ms Woll’s death was ongoing.

He added that investigators from the Detroit Police Department are working with the FBI, and some people “with information” are being interviewed.

“I again ask the community to remain patient while our investigators and law enforcement partners continue their work,” he said.

Attacks on Jewish and Palestinian-Americans have increased since the Israel-Gaza war erupted two weeks ago.

After news of Ms Woll’s death emerged, police urged the public not to jump to conclusions about why she was killed.

ADL Michigan, the state chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, has also urged people not to speculate and allow the police to gather the facts.

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