April 16, 2024

California suspect accused in shootings outside Los Angeles synagogues charged with federal hate crimes

A man suspected in two shootings outside of West Los Angeles synagogues this week has been charged with hate crimes, officials said in a Friday press conference.Β 

U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said that a federal criminal complaint had been filed in his office Friday morning against suspect Jaime Tran, 28, charging him with two hate crimes.Β 

“Hate crimes have no place in our community, antisemitism has no place in our community,”Β he said, adding, “The complaint alleged that Tran, motivated by hate, targeted two victims because they were Jewish or he believed them to be Jewish.”Β 

Tran faces life in prison if convicted because the complaint contains allegations that he attempted to murder the men he shot, Estrada said.Β 

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Tran was arrested in Cathedral City, east of Los Angeles, Thursday evening and transferred to federal custody Friday morning.Β 

He was expected to make his first appearance in a Los Angeles federal courtroom on Friday.

Tran is accused of shooting both men at close range from moving cars while the men were leaving synagogues in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, which is predominantly Jewish.Β 

The shootings occurred within a 24-hour period on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Both men are expected to survive.Β 

The initial investigation indicates Tran found the neighborhood after searching a business review app for a kosher market, the FBI Los Angeles FBI office said in a press release shared with Fox News Digital.Β 

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Estrada said both victims – who were shot in the back and upper arm – were wearing clothing that identified their Jewish faith, “including black coats and head coverings.”

He also commended the “swift and decisive action” of law enforcement officers in arresting Tran.Β 

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said the “terror” of the two shootings was “felt all across Los Angeles.” She noted that antisemitism is on the rise in L.A. and across the country, saying fighting hate crimes “in all forms” is a priority in her administration.

Tran has an alleged history of making antisemitic threats, including texting a former classmate, “I want you dead, Jew,” the Los Angeles Times reported.Β 

“In addition to targeting innocent people with violent physical attacks, these crimes instill fear in the community,” Donald Alway, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said in a statement shared with Fox News Digital. “There is no place in Los Angeles and, indeed, the United States of America, for fear to control communities and to intimidate people of faith. Law enforcement will work together to prevent hate crimes, whether they be civil liberties violations or acts of terror. On behalf of the FBI, I wish a full recovery to the victims who were senselessly attacked for their faith, as well as peace to the Jewish community.”

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