An 11-year-old boy was charged with a hate crime for allegedly setting fire to a Jewish Yeshiva school bus in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the New York Daily News is reporting. Surveillance video taken Sunday evening shows several young boys darting in and out of the bus shortly before a fire erupts within it.
The boy, whose name has not been released, was charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime and arson as a hate crime. Police told the News that they are searching for the other boys seen in the video, which was obtained and published by the website CrownHeights.info.
The video does not capture the full extent of the damage to the bus, but photos published by the News show its front end blackened and its interior charred. No injuries were reported.
It is unclear how police arrived at the hate crime designation: the News notes that the bus was not clearly marked as a Yeshiva vehicle, but that it was parked directly outside of Beth Rivkah, a private Jewish school for girls. Crown Heights, a neighborhood whose traditional demographic makeup is split between black and Jewish communities, has a history of racial tension, which culminated in three days of riots in 1991 after a Hasidic driver fatally struck a seven-year-old black boy who lived in the neighborhood.
One Beth Rivkah parent told the News that she was saddened to hear of the fire, no matter what inspired it. “I don’t know why they would do that. Maybe they were just bored, or maybe it really was about hate,” Chani Klein said. “Either way they blew up a bus. They need help.”