Orthodox Men Shot Two Days in a Row in Los Angeles

By Matis Glenn

Pinto Center shul and LINK Kollel in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of LA (Google maps)

Two Orthodox Jewish men were shot over a 24-hour period in Los Angeles while leaving shul in the same neighborhood, according to police.

The two incidents happened within a block of each other in the heavily Jewish area of Pico-Robertson.

On Wednesday, a middle-aged Asian male exited a grey Honda and opened fire at a visibly Jewish man, a member of the Persian community, walking on Cashio Avenue and Shenandoah Street at around 10 a.m., shooting at him twice. The victim suffered minor injuries and was released from the hospital a few hours later.

The following day, at around 8:45 a.m., another man was shot by a man in a hooded sweatshirt outside the Pinto Center shul and the LINK Kollel on South Bedford Avenue and Pico Boulevard; he too suffered minor injuries to his arm, and was released from the hospital the same day.

Even though both shootings were from vehicles targeting visibly Jewish men on the same block, West LAPD Captain Commanding Officer Craig Hedera initially said in a statement that the shootings are “certainly concerning,” but “not believed to be related,” and that there’s currently “no indication of yesterday’s shooting being motivated by hate.”

“Detectives are investigating this morning’s incident and there are more questions than answers at this point,” the statement continued. “We do not know the motivation or reason for today’s shooting, but we are working diligently to determine if this is a hate crime.”

Later in the day, LAPD released a statement that both shootings in the Pico-Robertson area may indeed be involving the same suspect.

Heredia said that LAPD are maintaining a heightened presence in the area.

A suspect was arrested Thursday evening. There are unconfirmed reports that the man has a history of expressing antisemitic rhetoric and mental health problems.

In a conversation with Hamodia, the Rabbi and administrator of Congregation Beit El said that the victim of Thursday’s horrible incident is a pillar of the Beit El community, and has been a member for many years. The victim will be reciting birchas hagomel for this miracle this Shabbos.

In addition, they told Hamodia that although he was struck by 3 bullets, nevertheless the victim was miraculously released from the hospital with just minor injuries.

Despite the danger of the shootings, members of the shul are still coming to the shul for davening.

The shul has taken the proper precautions to engage a top security team, and they were onsite the entire day and will continue to be present for the time being. Israeli Consul General Hillel Newman is scheduled to join the Friday night kabbolas Shabbos at Beit El.

The Rabbi of Beit El spoke to Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles and the Chief Michel Moore of LAPD, and are working closely with Mayor Bass, Chief Moore and the LAPD. Although there have been no specific threats to Beit El in the past, the LAPD reassured the shul that they will do everything necessary to increase patrol units onsite both inside and outside of the shul.

Agudath Israel in a statement said the LAPD and Councilwoman Katy Young Yaroslovsky are taking the situation “very seriously,” and urged that the shootings should be investigated as hate crimes “until we know otherwise.” Agudah called on Los Angeles institutions to be especially vigilant in the days ahead.

“It is deeply concerning that in Los Angeles today, two Jews have been shot in the street in two days, as they were leaving prayers.,” Rabbi Yossi Eilfort, head of Magen Am, an armed neighborhood security organization said in a statement. “Regardless of the motivation of the shootings, Jews deserve to be secure, living and serving G-d in peace.” Rabbi Eilfort said that his group will be deploying units

An Orthodox man who lives in the vicinity of the area says that he feels “the same way I did in Israel after a terror attack,” and that when he saw a man reach into his pocket and pull out something black, which ended up just being a cell phone, he thought it may have been a gun.

The organization is deploying patrol units in the area, and sources tell Hamodia that at least one neighborhood institution plans on hiring security following the incidents,

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