Asian Man Charged With Hate Crime After Shooting 2 Jewish Men
February 18, 2023
LOS ANGELES, CA—A 28-year-old Asian man suspected of shooting two Jewish men after they left synagogues in the Pico-Robertson district less than 24 hours apart was charged Friday with two federal hate crime counts.
Jaime Tran of Riverside was charged with committing a hate crime by interference with federally protected activities and use of a firearm in a felony, according to a criminal complaint.
Tran was “motivated by antisemitism,” according to U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada, who also added “Hate crimes have no place in our community,” reported ABC7.
“Over the past two days, our community experienced two horrific acts we believe were motivated by antisemitic ideology that caused him to target the Jewish community,” said Estrada. “It is important, especially in one of the most diverse areas in the world, that we celebrate our differences, and stand together to oppose acts of hate.”
Estrada said if Tran is convicted on both charges, he would face up to life in federal prison.
The 28-year-old Vietnamese-American suspect made an initial appearance in federal court Thursday afternoon with his public defender and was ordered to be held without bond, reports ABC7.
He was arrested Thursday evening in Riverside County. Police seized a rifle and handgun.
Tran told investigators he looked up “kosher market” on Yelp before he shot the two victims and “decided to shoot someone in the area of the market” on Thursday, according to a court affidavit.
Authorities also alleged Tran has a history of antisemitism, sending threatening messages and voicemails to a Jewish classmate at a dental school, and sending more anti-Semitic messages to other classmates.
An LAPD officer who responded to Thursday’s shooting noticed a man fitting Tran’s description driving away from the area and was able to snap a picture of his license plate. Investigators later reviewed surveillance footage from the crime scene and license plate reader records later placed Tran’s car in the area of the two shootings.
Tran is a former dental student and has a history of harassing people he suspected of being Jewish. In December 2022, he allegedly emailed dozens of his former classmates, describing Jewish people as “primitive” and urged classmates to blame the COVID-19 lockdowns on “Iranian Jews.”
Trans was also arrested last year in Long Beach on felony charges of bringing a gun on school grounds.