Joseph M. Czuba: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

joseph czuba

Will Co Sheriff Joseph Czuba

Joseph Czuba is an Illinois man who is accused of repeatedly stabbing a 32-year-old woman and her 6-year-old son, killing the boy, because they are Muslim and he was enraged about the Hamas attack on Israel, according to the Will County Sheriff’s Department in Illinois. The child was stabbed 26 times, the release says.

The boy, who is Palestinian-American, was named Wadea Al-Fayoume, according to ABC 7. His mother is Hanaan Shahin, the U.S. Attorney General said in a statement.

Joseph M. Czuba was named as the suspect in a press release posted to the Will County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page.

“Joseph Czuba was charged with First Degree Murder, Attempted First Degree Murder, Hate Crime (2 counts), and Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon. Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the on-going Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis,” the Sheriff’s Department said.

“The Will County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance in working with detectives regarding Joseph Czuba being formally charged in this senseless and cowardly act of violence. Joseph Czuba was transported to the Will County Adult Detention Facility and is awaiting his initial court appearance.”

Czuba was the woman’s landlord, the sheriff says.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Joseph Czuba Is Accused of Stabbing His Tenant With a Knife

joseph czuba

Will Co SheriffJoseph Czuba

On October 14, 2023, at approximately 11:38 a.m., “deputies with the Will County Sheriff’s Office were sent to a residence located near the 16200 block of S. Lincoln Highway in Unincorporated Plainfield Township regarding a stabbing. The residence is located near the intersection of S. Lincoln Highway and Lily Cache Road in Plainfield.”

The release says that “Responding police personnel were advised that the female caller, age 32, dialed 911 after her landlord had attacked her with a knife. The female victim stated that she ran into the bathroom and continued to fight off her attacker as she dialed 911.”

Continues the release: “Deputies with the Will County Sheriff’s Office and officers with the Plainfield Police Department responded to the scene. Upon their arrival they located the suspect, Joseph M. Czuba (age 71) of Plainfield sitting upright outside on the ground near the driveway of the residence. Joseph Czuba had a laceration to his forehead and was later transported to a local area hospital for treatment.”

“What we have is a murdered Palestinian child by someone who is radicalized by the environment in which we live right now, that casts Palestinians as human animals,” said Ahmed Rehab, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago to ABC 7. “This person had no track record with the family. As a matter of fact, the father says he had built a treehouse for the boy, and allowed him to swim in a makeshift pool and brought him toys.”

“He knocked on the door and that he attempted to choke her, and said, ‘you Muslims must die,’ and attempted to stab her, and stabbed her. And, she went to the bathroom and called 911. And, this was all in her own words,” Rehab said to the television station.

Governor JB Pritzker released a statement on X, saying, in part, “To take a six-year-old child’s life in the name of bigotry is nothing short of evil… Every single Illinoisan – including our Muslim, Jewish, and Palestinian neighbors -deserves to live free from the threat of such evil.”

2. Deputies Located the 2 Victims Inside a Bedroom

will co sheriff

Will Co SheriffWill Co Sheriff

According to the release, “Deputies located two victims inside the residence in a bedroom. Both victims had multiple stab wounds to their chest, torso, and upper extremities. Both victims were transported to a local area hospital for treatment. The 32-year-old female was transported in serious condition and over a dozen stab wounds to her body. The eight-year-old male had over a dozen stab wounds to his body and was transported in critical condition. The eight-year-old later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased by a doctor at the hospital.”

The release continued:

The suspect, Joseph M. Czuba, was treated and released from a local area hospital and was transported to the Will County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Complex for questioning by detectives. Thus far, no criminal charges have been filed. This active investigation will continue throughout the evening and into tomorrow while members of the Will County Sheriff’s Office continue to gather additional evidence and conduct interviews.

Detectives have been able to determine that there is no further danger to the public. The suspect has been taken into custody and the weapon used in this heinous crime has been recovered. The Will County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Plainfield Police Department for their assistance in this incident. Additional information will be provided when appropriate.

However, a later updated release said:

It was initially reported to police personnel that the juvenile victim was eight-years-old. That initial information was incorrect, and juvenile victim is six (6) years-old. The six-year-old male was transported to the hospital in critical condition. The boy later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased by a doctor. On 10/15/2023, an autopsy was conducted on the six-year-old victim. The forensic pathologist conducting the autopsy removed the knife from the abdomen of the boy at that time. The six-year-old boy was stabbed twenty-six (26) times throughout his body. The knife used in this attack is a twelve-inch serrated military style knife that has a seven-inch blade.

The suspect, Joseph M. Czuba, was treated and released from a local area hospital and was transported to the Will County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Complex for questioning by detectives. Joseph Czuba did not make any statements to detectives regarding his involvement in this heinous attack. Despite the suspect not providing a statement to detectives, personnel were able to gather enough information through interviews and evidence to formally charge Joseph Czuba with numerous criminal offenses.

The mother left the West Bank 12 years ago and the boy, who loved soccer and basketball, was born in the U.S., according to ABC 7.

3. Joseph Czuba Is a Military Veteran With Prostate Cancer

According to NBC News, Czuba’s public defender told the court he was a military veteran who served from 1969 to 1973.

Czuba was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has “ongoing medical issues,” according to NBC News.

The network reported that Czuba’s lawyer said Czuba’s medical issues would make it tough to incarcerate him.

4. Joseph Czuba Is Accused of Growing Obsessed With the Iraeli-Hamas Conflict After Listening to ‘Conservative Talk Radio on a Regular Basis’

Court records obtained by NBC News indicated that prosecutors accuse Czuba of confronting Shahin and telling her “he was angry at her for what was going on” in Israel.

Shahin “stated she responded to him ‘let’s pray for peace’,” the petition said, according to NBC News. Shahin “stated Czuba gave her no chance to do anything … then attacked her with a knife.”

According to NBC News, Czuba’s wife Mary told investigators he “listens to conservative talk radio on a regular basis” and was obsessed with the war between Hamas and Israel.

“Czuba was angry at her over what was going on in Jerusalem. She responded by saying, ‘Let’s pray for peace.’ He didn’t give her time. He then attacked her with a knife,” prosecutor Michael Fitzgerald said, according to ABC 7.

According to ABC 7, prosecutors say Czuba wanted the family to move out because “He believed they were in danger, and she was going to call her Palestinian friends over to harm them.”

5. The U.S. Attorney General Said He Was ‘Heartbroken by the Abhorrent Killing’

“I am heartbroken by the abhorrent killing of Wadea Al-Fayoume, a six year old child who died after being stabbed 26 times with a military-style knife. On behalf of the entire Justice Department, I want to express my deepest condolences to his family and his community as they grieve his loss,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

“The Justice Department has opened a federal hate crimes investigation into the events leading to the tragic death of Wadea Al-Fayoume and the serious injuries suffered by his mother, Hanaan Shahin. The Department is limited in what more it can say because this is an ongoing criminal investigation.”

Garland said:

This incident cannot help but further raise the fears of Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian communities in our country with regard to hate-fueled violence. The Department of Justice is focused on protecting the safety and the civil rights of every person in this country. We will use every legal authority at our disposal to bring to justice those who perpetrate illegal acts of hate. No one in the United States of America should have to live in fear of violence because of how they worship or where they or their family come from.

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