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Federal prosecutors charge suspect in shooting of two LA Jewish men with hate crimes

Both men were leaving synagogues when a driver of a moving vehicle fired on them in separate incidents.

A Los Angeles Police Department patrol car. Credit: Elliott Cowand Jr./Shutterstock.
A Los Angeles Police Department patrol car. Credit: Elliott Cowand Jr./Shutterstock.

The Los Angeles Police Department has arrested Jaime Tran, 28, alleged to have shot two Jewish men in that city in as many days. Both victims were leaving synagogue services when the driver of a moving vehicle shot them.

One victim suffered a gunshot wound to the lower back; the other was shot in the upper arm.

Federal prosecutors charged Tran with two counts of hate crimes.

“The complaint alleges that Tran targeted the two victims because they were Jewish or he believed them to be Jewish,” said the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. “Because the complaint contains allegations that Tran attempted to murder the two victims, the maximum statutory penalty for each of the two hate crimes is life without parole in federal prison.”

According to the complaint, Tran allegedly called Jews “primitive” and blamed “revenue loss” on “the Iranian Jew” last December. Earlier last year, he is said to have texted a former classmate, “Someone is going to kill you, Jew,” and “I want you dead, Jew.”

“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,” Donald Alway, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said in a press release.

“We are incredibly grateful for law enforcement’s diligence in apprehending the suspect,” the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said on Friday. “We have also learned that the suspect has a history of animus towards the Jewish community and these incidents will be treated as hate crimes. As such, we are encouraged to also have learned that the U.S. attorney will take the case and file federal charges on civil-rights violations.”

Tran was arrested in Riverside County, some 50 miles east of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood where the shootings took place. He was found with both a rifle and a handgun.

“Both shootings occurred in the same predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Los Angeles, and both victims were dressed in clothing that visibly identified their Jewish faith, including black jackets and head coverings,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It added that Tran used a business-review app to locate a kosher market so he could find Jewish targets.

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