Texas woman accused of attempting to drown 3-year-old Palestinian-American

By Thomson Reuters Jun 24, 2024 | 2:15 PM

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – A Texas woman has been accused of the attempted drowning of a 3-year-old Palestinian-American Muslim girl, and police on Monday said the incident was motivated by bias and the suspect made racially motivated statements.

The incident occurred in May but gained media attention on Monday after the Council on American Islamic Relations offered support to the victims and issued a press statement identifying them by religion and ancestry.

“The Euless Police Department believes the crime was committed because of bias or prejudice and that is part of the case as it has been filed with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office,” police said in a statement on Monday. The district attorney’s office said it was reviewing the case.

According to a police report, the incident occurred at an apartment complex swimming pool in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Euless, when the suspect argued with the mother of the 3-year-old girl, who was also at the pool with her 6-year-old son, and asked where they were from. The suspect, identified by police as 42-year-old Elizabeth Wolf, tried to drown the 3-year-old and attempted to grab the 6-year-old boy, the police report said.

The mother was able to pull her daughter from the water, police said, and local medics responded to the scene and the children were medically cleared.

The suspect was arrested and charged with attempted capital murder.

Human rights advocates have reported a rise in Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian bias and antisemitism in the U.S. since the latest eruption of conflict in the Middle East.

President Joe Biden said on Monday he was “deeply disturbed” by reports of the incident.

Other U.S. incidents amid the Gaza war include the fatal October stabbing of a 6-year-old boy in Illinois whom police said was targeted because he was Palestinian-American and the February stabbing of a Palestinian-American man in Texas that police said met the definition of a hate crime. The November shooting of three students of Palestinian descent in Vermont was also treated as a suspected hate-motivated crime.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)