Court docs: Man in U-Haul sprayed substance, yelled antisemitic phrase outside DC synagogue

A man allegedly yelled an antisemitic phrase and sprayed people with an unknown substance during an attack outside a Georgetown synagogue Sunday morning, according to court documents.

Brent Wood is accused of driving a U-Haul van around security poles and parking directly on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to Kesher Israel Congregation. Wood sat down on the hood of the van and then tried to open the synagogue’s front door, but it was locked, according to charging documents.

There was a class going on inside the synagogue at the time of the incident, documents say, and the building was being evacuated after getting a bomb threat via email.

As congregants were leaving, documents say, Wood started to spray them with an unknown substance and yelled “gas the Jews.”

One of the people sprayed was a woman out for a run, charging documents say.

A man leaving the synagogue and wearing a yarmulke said Wood approached him and repeatedly said “gas the Jews” while spraying the unknown substance on his upper body. The man walked away, but Wood followed him and continued to spray the substance. Wood said, “you’re no fun,” and returned to the vicinity of the synagogue, according to documents.

A woman walking her dog witnessed the man getting sprayed and Wood’s yelling, documents say.

When D.C. police arrived, they saw Wood recording with his cellphone and holding a canister. Wood, documents say, was yelling “gas the Jews” and said “it’s just fart spray.”

Wood was arrested and charged with simple assault/hate crime and resisting arrest.

Wood’s last known address is in Toledo, Ohio.

He made his first appearance in court Monday, and is next scheduled in court Jan. 29 at 9:30 a.m. Wood is ordered to stay away from the synagogue and from the two victims.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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