Suspect Charged With Hate Crimes After Pair of Shootings Targeting Jews Near Los Angeles Synagogues
Federal prosecutors in the United States have filed hate crime charges against the suspect in the shooting of two Jewish men in separate incidents near synagogues in Los Angeles, California, earlier this week, CNN reported.
The alleged assailant — identified as 28-year-old Jamie Tran — was arrested on Thursday in Riverside County, a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) statement said. He was in possession of a rifle and a handgun at the time of his arrest.
U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said Tran targeted his victims — both of whom survived their wounds after receiving medical treatment in hospitals — “because they were Jewish or he believed them to be Jewish” and was “motivated by hate.”
The shootings took place on Wednesday and Thursday in Los Angeles’ Pico-Robertson neighborhood, which is home to a large Orthodox Jewish population.
The victims — visibly identifiable as Jews due to their attire — were shot from a vehicle, believed to be Tran’s gray Honda Civic, as they left morning services at different synagogues, located within a block of each other.
After his arrest, Tran admitted his antisemitic motivations to investigators, telling them he had “searched for a ‘kosher’ market” on Yelp and then “selected his victims because of their ‘head gear,’” according to an affidavit.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Tran had a long history of antisemitic behavior, including a mass email to former classmates in which he called Jews “primitive” and threatening another former classmate with messages such as “I want you dead, Jew.”
Tran’s first court hearing was held on Friday, and he is expected to be arraigned on March 9th.
The LAPD said it has increased its presence and patrols around Jewish houses of worship and neighborhoods in the wake of the shootings.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass stated, “I want to be very clear: anti-Semitism and hate crimes have no place in our city or our country. Those who engage in either will be caught and held fully accountable.”
“My pledge is to fight this hatred vigorously and work every day to defeat it,” she added. “We are a strong city — and we are strongest when we stand united against hate, together.”
I want to be very clear: anti-Semitism and hate crimes have no place in our city or our country.
Those who engage in either will be caught and held fully accountable. https://t.co/OnRegfcoFX
— Mayor Karen Bass (@MayorOfLA) February 17, 2023
Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa commented, “Los Angeles and every city in the U.S. need to be vigilant, with law enforcement and municipal leaders working together to prevent violence against the Jewish people. It is critical that any and every warning sign of antisemitism be monitored before a situation becomes more tragic.”
“No American should have to live in fear during their journey to or from a synagogue, or any place of worship,” he emphasized.