LAPD Arrests Suspect with ‘Animus’ Towards Jewish Community in Dual Shooting of Orthodox Jews
by Andrew Bernard
The Los Angeles Police Department announced Thursday evening that they have arrested a suspect that they believe is responsible for a pair of shootings targeting Orthodox Jews in West LA.
“Los Angeles Police Department’s investigation led to the identification of a suspect believed to have committed both shootings which launched an exhaustive search. The facts of the case led to this crime being investigated as a hate crime,” the LAPD said in a statement “The suspect was tracked to an area in Riverside County and investigators began working collaboratively with Federal and regional partners to locate him, resulting in the suspect being taken into custody without incident. Detectives recovered several items of evidence, to include a rifle and a handgun.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said in a statement that they had learned the individual, described in a previous police report as an Asian male, “has a history of animus towards the Jewish community.”
According to the LAPD, the two shootings occurred within a quarter mile of each other in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of West Los Angeles on Wednesday and Thursday morning. Agudath Israel, an organization that represents Orthodox Jews, said in a statement that the two victims were shot as they were leaving their synagogue following morning prayers.
Local KTLA news reports that the victim of Thursday of shooting suffered a gunshot wound in the arm and is in stable condition, while the status of the victim of Wednesday’s shooting is unknown.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Thursday welcomed news of the arrest.
“The arrest of the person accused of shooting two Jewish men the Pico-Robertson neighborhood in 24 hours gives a sigh of relief to LA’s Jewish community,” ADL LA Regional Director Jeffrey Abrams said. “The community may rest better knowing the suspect is under arrest.”
The shootings come amid a nationwide surge in antisemitic attacks. The ADL’s 2022 audit of antisemitic incidents for the previous year showed the highest number of such incidents since the ADL began tracking them in 1979, with a total of 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism reported. LA’s 2022 hate crimes report showed that Jews were “overwhelmingly” targeted in religiously motivated hate crimes, representing 74% of such cases.
The LAPD have said that out of an abundance of caution, there will continue to be an increased police presence and patrols around Jewish places of worship and surrounding neighborhoods through the weekend.