A federal grand jury indicted a man for hate crimes in the shooting last month of two Jewish men as they left synagogues in Los Angeles.
The four-count indictment charges Jaime Tran, 28, with hate crimes and firearms offenses, specifically two counts of “willfully causing bodily injury and attempting to kill his victims,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
He is also charged with two counts of discharging a firearm in relation to a violent crime.
Authorities allege that on Feb. 15 at 9:45 a.m., Tran drove to the heavily Jewish Pico-Robertson area of Los Angeles. He singled out a man who was “wearing a black jacket and yarmulke, and had just left religious services at a synagogue.” Tran allegedly shot the man “in the back at close range, intending to kill him,” but wounded the man instead.
The following day, at 8 a.m., authorities say Tran returned to the area “intending to kill another Jewish person.” His second victim, also dressed in dark colors and wearing a yarmulke, was injured in the attack.
Tran acquired two guns before the February attacks and had done an Internet search for “kosher markets” to see where “Jewish people congregate,” according to authorities.
A resident of Riverside County, about an hour east of Los Angeles, Tran has a history of antisemitic beliefs. The indictment stated that Tran left dental school in 2018 “after making hate-filled statements about other students whom he perceived to be Jewish.”
From August through December 2022, his rhetoric “escalated and used increasingly violent language,” texting a former classmate, saying “I want you dead, Jew. Someone is going to kill you, Jew” and “Burn in an oven chamber,” it added.
He also allegedly distributed fliers stating: “Every single aspect of the Covid agenda is Jewish.”
If convicted of all charges, Tran faces a minimum mandatory sentence in federal prison of 10 years for each firearm count and a maximum life sentence for each hate crime.