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Rabbi Adam Scheier of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount said that at around 2 p.m., the security team — watching on security cameras — saw a man walk up to the building with "a can of spray paint and a canister of gasoline."
Our message to the community is gratitude. Gratitude that worse didn't happen. Gratitude for the many expressions of support.
Rabbi Adam Scheier
Security saw the man put the canister of gasoline down and spray paint the doors, Rabbi Scheier said, before they apprehended him.
Rabbi Scheier said the man was sitting in the back of a police car by the time he arrived on-the-scene
The suspect has reportedly been arrested and, according to CBC, he will undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
"There's no one in our community who is surprised to see that symbol ... especially nowadays with the divisiveness and hatred so prominent in our society," Rabbi Scheier told MTL Blog.
"But to see it on one's own spiritual home, knowing what this home and what those doors mean ... it was a punch to the gut."
Shaar Hashomayim also houses Foundation School and Akiva School.
Rabbi Scheier said his team quickly removed the graffiti, even participating in the clean-up himself.
"I felt very strongly that we needed to remove it now. That the pain I felt seeing it in person ... was a pain I wanted to spare anyone who was passing by," he said.
Rabbi Scheier said the synagogue has received words of love and support in the past few hours from all over the world, and from different religious and political leaders.
"That should not be eclipsed by the darkness of the actual act," he said.
Rabbi Scheier told us he does not have any further information from police at this time.
But he said on Facebook "there is no reason to fear further attacks against our synagogue building, and we will remain vigilant as always."