An investigation of a Los Angeles man accused of shooting two Jews with a white car in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles
Los Angeles authorities have arrested a man suspected of shooting two Jewish men as they walked home from their synagogues this week in separate, nonfatal incidents that are being investigated as hate crimes.
A 28-year-old man is accused of shooting two men because they were Jewish or he believed them to be Jewish, and he was motivated by hate.
An “exhaustive” search for the suspect was launched after the victims were shot separately in the city’s western Pico-Robertson neighborhood on Wednesday and Thursday, about three blocks apart, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a release.
The shootings happened several blocks apart in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, which is home to a large Jewish community and known for its many synagogues, Jewish schools, kosher restaurants and the Holocaust-focused Museum of Tolerance.
“We have seen a rise in antisemitic attacks in recent months, and while there remain questions on the motivation of these particular shootings, we cannot ignore the pain and trauma that they have triggered in the community.”
The suspect was found in Riverside County, about an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles, police said. Several pieces of evidence, including a rifle and handgun, were found by detectives.
Authorities are looking for a male with a mustache and goatee who may have been driving a white car. A license plate recorded near the scene of one of the shootings assisted authorities in locating and arresting the suspect, a law enforcement source told CNN.
According to a source familiar with the investigation, federal agents are looking at the suspect’s past to find out if they violated federal law.
A Los Angeles man shot in the arm and fled from inside a car during a neighborhood walk after a wake-up service at a synagogue
The following day, at around 8:30 a.m., the second victim was walking toward his home nearby when a man drove up and shot at him from inside a car, and then fled, the spokesperson said.
CBS Los Angeles reported that a man was shot in the arm. The second is a member of Beit El synagogue, who told CNN that he was shot three times at point blank range while walking to his car after morning services.
The synagogue said it is working with police to implement security measures. LA police and the sheriff’s department have said they are increasing patrols around the neighborhood and Jewish places of worship.
“The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of the concern these crimes have raised in the surrounding community. The department has been in close contact with religious leaders and other community stakeholders.
The hate crime allegation against the suspect is tied to statements he made during the incident as well as social media posts he made involving “several postings of an individual in Nazi-type clothing,” San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a news conference. An attorney for the suspect, Deputy Public Defender Olivia Taylor, said outside the courthouse that the man is “not guilty of any hate crime.”
A man in New Jersey tried to burn down a synagogue. The suspect was charged with a federal crime.
Los Angeles Anti-Semitic Crimes are Alive and Well: Detection and Investigations in the Light of Recent Los Angeles Mass Shootings
Police said detectives had also recovered “several items of evidence,” including a rifle and handgun, and that their investigation alongside state and federal authorities is ongoing.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass acknowledged in a statement that this week’s shootings have set communities further on edge, at a time when antisemitic incidents already are reaching new heights.
She said that anti-Semites and hate crimes have no place in our city or country. Those that engage will be caught and held accountable.
Local faith and political leaders say they’re relieved that the suspect is in custody, and are hoping to get the full picture of what happened and see him held accountable.
The U.S. Attorney will file federal charges against those who violate civil rights, and thus we are happy to hear that.
Los Angeles saw a wave of incidents last fall, including antisemitic leafleting and a demonstration in which protesters gave Nazi salutes under a “Kanye is right” banner on a freeway overpass.
And, as U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu noted, the Los Angeles community is still reeling from recent mass shootings, including the Monterey Park dance studio attack during Lunar New Year celebrations last month.