Monday, March 26, 2012
admitted that he targeted them because they were Jewish, The Post has
Rashid Baz was convicted in 1995 of murdering Yeshiva
student Ari Halberstam, 16, and trying to kill more than a dozen others
in a van with a hail of bullets he fired on a Manhattan approach to the
bridge on March 1, 1994.
Baz initially told cops he opened fire
because of a traffic dispute. But in 2007 Baz finally confessed that he
targeted his victims, tailing their van for about two miles before the
shooting, an admission that had never been made public until now.
Since Baz is already serving a minimum of 141 years in state prison,
authorities believe there is no reason to pursue hate-crime or other new charges, law-enforcement sources said.
Detectives never believed Baz's traffic-dispute defense but discounted the widely spread rumors
that he was part of a terror-linked conspiracy.
five-week trial, Baz's lawyer claimed the shooter suffered serious
trauma while growing up during the Lebanese civil war and was suffering
from post- traumatic stress disorder at the time of the slaying.
But in his confession years later, Baz said he first saw the van outside
the Manhattan Eye and Ear Infirmary, on East 14th Street, where
Lubavitcher spiritual leader Rabbi Menachem Schneerson was undergoing
He said he followed the van and targeted the
occupants because of an earlier West Bank attack by Israeli settlers on
Muslims. Asked if he would have shot at a van of black or Latino people, he told the investigators, "No, I only shot them because they were
Baz fired two guns, blowing out one of the windows of his blue Chevrolet. Then he drove calmly back to his car-service
headquarters in Brooklyn and told co-workers he had shot up the van for
no particular reason.
The other occupants of the van, including two who were critically wounded, survived.
A year later, the bridge's southbound ramp was renamed the Ari Halberstam Ramp.