Wadea al Fayoume, a Palestinian-American, tragically succumbed to his injuries after being brutally stabbed 26 times with a “military-style knife” on Saturday, as reported by the Will County Sheriff’s Office.
His 32-year-old mother, who suffered from “over a dozen stab wounds,” is currently in the process of recovering in a hospital.
Wadea and his mother were discovered within a property located in Plainfield Township, which the property owner (Czuba) had been leasing to them. Joseph M. Czuba, a 71-year-old individual, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two hate crime charges, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
US President Joe Biden denounced the incident as an “act of hate,” while the FBI heightened its vigilance for potential acts of violence driven by an elevated risk of Islamophobia.
Law enforcement disclosed that they were able to ascertain that both victims were deliberately singled out by the suspect due to their Muslim faith and their association with the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and Israel.
At a press conference held by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), The boy’s father, Oday al-Fayoume, was also present, and he was described as being in a state of shock by CAIR’s Ahmed Rehab.
Neighbours expressed their disbelief at the violent attack, with one neighbour stating that the circumstances were irrelevant and that such brutality should not be inflicted on an innocent child. Other nearby residents mentioned that the victims had resided in the home for four years and expressed their horror at the heinous act.