Incident at Temple Israel terrifies Staples students


Gabrielle Feinsmith, Staff Writer

Two alleged armed intruders were seen on Tuesday, May 12 at Temple Israel in Westport; causing Staples students to panic.

“The news was shocking,” said Ben Kanter ’16 the president of the youth group at Temple Israel. “It’s scary that a place where I go and feel safe [is] now potentially dangerous.”

At the time of the intrusion, Temple Israel was holding a luncheon for Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

According to an article written by The Hour,during the luncheon someone started shouting, “There’s an intruder, get out, get out now.” Police immediately rushed to Temple Israel to investigate.

The news traveled to Staples very quickly, terrifying students as well as the community.

At 1 p.m. a lockdown was enacted at Coleytown Elementary and at Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools. The lockdown was eventually lifted at about 1:45 p.m.

“The fast news brought everyone around me into a panic,” Zack Levin ’15 said. “It was surreal that Westport schools were in lockdown and there was a potentially armed person at Temple Israel.”

Steven Phillips, President of Temple Israel, later sent out an email to members explaining the incident in greater detail and stating, “At no time was anyone in physical danger.”

The email confirmed that two men loudly tried to disrupt the luncheon with the intention to protest. The two intruders are now in police custody and no weapons of any kind have been found.

Police will be present at Temple Israel today and into tomorrow to assure safety.

“This type of incident should remind the Westport community that it is essential to be prepared for intruders and anticipate how to keep residents protected from danger,” Nikki Lynch ’16 said.