Suspect with antisemitic history arrested in shooting of 2 Jews in Los Angeles

Victims wounded in separate incidents in heavily Jewish Pico-Robertson neighborhood; both in stable condition; LAPD to boost security around Jewish institutions

Illustrative: Police investigators stand near the site of a shooting in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood on Jan. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Illustrative: Police investigators stand near the site of a shooting in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood on Jan. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

The Los Angeles Police Department on Thursday arrested a man with a history of Jew-hatred as a suspect in two shootings of Jewish men this week and beefed up security around Jewish institutions in the area.

The Los Angeles Times cited law enforcement sources as saying the suspect had a “history of animus toward the Jewish community” and that that hatred was likely the motivation for the attacks. They said the case was being handled on both a federal and a local level, and that officials were trying to interrogate the suspect, whose name was not immediately released.

The suspect was tracked and taken into custody in Riverside County, Los Angeles police said in a statement. Detectives seized a rifle and a handgun.

“We have… learned that the suspect has a history of animus toward the Jewish community and these incidents will be treated as hate crimes,” The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said in a statement. “As such, we are encouraged to also have learned that the US Attorney will take the case and file federal charges on civil rights violations.”

People in Los Angeles and beyond expressed fear after the shootings, which took place in and near Pico-Robertson, a Jewish neighborhood whose streets are dotted with synagogues, kosher restaurants and other Jewish establishments.

In the first incident, on Wednesday morning, a man in his 40s was the victim of a drive-by shooting. The shooting reportedly occurred after the victim exited morning prayer services, and police described the suspected shooter as an Asian man.

On Thursday morning, about half a mile away, another man in his 70s was shot by a man police initially described as a white male. Both victims are in stable condition.

Storefronts in the heavily Jewish Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles on February 15, 2023. (Amy Spiro/Times of Israel)

LAPD officer Mike Lopez told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Thursday that police would be patrolling the area, and an officer at the Beverly Hills Police Department told JTA that it would be patrolling around Jewish institutions in its area as well. (Beverly Hills is a separate municipality within Los Angeles.)

In its statement, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles added that it “has been in touch with local law enforcement to make sure our Jewish community is being kept safe.”

The Young Israel of Century City, an Orthodox synagogue in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, told its members it would be boosting security in the wake of the incidents.

The synagogue said it is working closely with the LAPD, which has “informed us that they will be deploying additional resources and high-visibility patrols in our area, in particular over Shabbat.”

“These attacks against members of our Jewish community are unacceptable,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass tweeted.

“This is a relief,” the Anti-Defamation League’s Southern California branch wrote on Twitter after the arrest was announced. “Tonight, we can rest easy. Tomorrow, we will continue to fight against antisemitism.”

Most Popular
read more: