Detroit Evening Report: Police ‘confident’ Samantha Woll murder not a hate crime

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Detroit Police Chief James White held a press conference on Monday, Oct. 23, to provide updates on the Samantha Woll homicide case.

Detroit Police Chief James White held a press conference on Monday, Oct. 23, to provide updates on the Samantha Woll homicide case.

Family, friends and some of Michigan’s top elected officials paid their respects on Sunday to Samantha Woll, president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue, who was fatally stabbed in front of her home on Saturday morning. 

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Hundreds of mourners shared stories of Woll’s kindness and generosity at the memorial service in Oak Park, including her sister  — Monica Woll-Rosen — who called her a peacemaker and a leader in the Jewish community.  

“You so deeply wanted peace for this world. You fought for everyone, regardless of who they were or where they came from,” Woll-Rosen said. “You were the definition of a leader. Our world is shattered without you. You brought us light.”

Detroit Police Chief James White held a press conference about the case on Monday, during which he reiterated earlier statements that investigators found no evidence the killing was an act of antisemitism. White also said investigators do not have a suspect in the case yet, just persons of interest.

There are certain tracks that these types of cases take when we talk about hate crimes,” he said. “We have looked at this particular track, and we’re confident with the information that we have right now that this is not.”

Woll was a board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council and the American Jewish Committee Detroit. She founded the Muslim-Jewish Forum to build interfaith relations.  

Pat Batcheller and Laura Herberg contributed to this report.

Other headlines for Monday, Oct. 23, 2023:

  • The “Institutional Desecration Act,” legislation aimed at increasing penalties for vandalizing places of worship, schools and other cultural institutions, received a committee hearing in the Michigan Senate this week just a few months after the bill passed the state House of Representatives.
  • Saint Florian Roman Catholic Church in Hamtramck hosted a Polish Soup Festival on Sunday to celebrate Polish American Heritage Month, celebrated in October.
  • Detroiters and visitors can now walk 3.5 miles continuously along the water at the Detroit River, as the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held a grand opening for the new Uniroyal Promenade over the weekend.
  • More than 60 businesses in metro Detroit say they are donating proceeds to the crisis in Gaza through The Amity Foundation between Oct. 23-29, with funds going to the Palestinian Community Relief Fund and the Palestinian American Medical Association for medical and humanitarian aid

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  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.