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Riverside man who shot two Jews outside synagogues pleads guilty

Riverside Man
Riverside man who shot two Jews outside synagogues pleads guilty, Jaime Tran, 29, accepted all charges against him: two counts of hate crimes with intent to kill and two counts of using, carrying and shooting a firearm during and in connection with a crime of violence.

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A former Riverside resident who last year shot and wounded two Jewish men as they left church services in the Pico-Robertson area of Los Angeles has pleaded guilty to hate crimes and firearms offenses, the court reported. California Department of Justice.

Jaime Tran, 29, agreed to plead guilty to all charges against him: two counts of hate crimes with intent to kill and two counts of using, carrying and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Tran is expected to plead guilty to the felony charges before U.S. District Judge George H. Wu in the coming weeks.

Upon pleading guilty, Tran will face a maximum statutory sentence of life in federal prison for each hate crime charge, and a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for each firearm charge.

Under the plea agreement, which prosecutors presented last Tuesday, May 14, Tran would receive a prison sentence of between 35 and 40 years.

“This defendant attempted to murder two men simply because they were Jewish,” said federal prosecutor Martín Estrada. ?However, instead of allowing these horrible crimes to divide us, our community came together and quickly brought the perpetrator to justice. Hate and intolerance have no place in the United States. Will we remain steadfast in our approach of using all the tools at our disposal to aggressively prosecute acts of hate?

For her part, the acting deputy director of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, Krysti Hawkins, said that "the defendant's hatred led him to plan the murder of two innocent victims simply because he believed they practiced their Jewish faith." 

Hawkins said she is relieved that the hard work of investigators and prosecutors led to Tran admitting to the crimes and hopes that members of the Jewish community will take comfort in knowing that he will not be in a position to attack his peers. 

“I am grateful for the hard work our investigators and prosecutors have done in this case,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Dominic Choi. ?Hate crimes tear at the fabric of our communities and our safety. The Los Angeles Police Department is stronger through our federal partnerships and better serves the people of Los Angeles.        

According to his plea agreement, Tran developed and espoused anti-Semitic beliefs and made violent threats against Jewish people. 

In 2018, Tran left dental school after making hateful statements about other students whom he perceived as Jewish.

From August to December 2022, Tran's anti-Semitic statements increased and included increasingly violent language, including against a former classmate whom he repeatedly called and texted with messages such as "I want you dead, Jew," "Someone Is he going to kill you, Jew? and "Burn in the furnace chamber," the California Department of Justice reported in a statement.

He added that in November 2022, Tran emailed two dozen former classmates a pamphlet containing anti-Semitic propaganda, including the statement: ?EVERY ASPECT OF THE COVID AGENDA IS JEWISH.? The following month, Tran emailed his former classmates excerpts from a website that described Jews as ?primitive? and with "thick skulls."

As a result of previous mental health arrests, as of 2023, Tran was banned from purchasing firearms. 

In January 2023, in Phoenix, Tran asked a third party to purchase two firearms from him. Tran selected the firearms he wanted and paid approximately $1,500 in cash to the third party, who then purchased them.

On the morning of February 15, 2023, Tran used the Internet to search for places with a ?kosher market? and planned to shoot someone near a kosher market because he believed there would be Jews in the area. 

Tran drove to Pico-Robertson and shot a Jewish victim wearing a kippah as he left religious services at a synagogue. Tran, believing the victim to be Jewish, shot him at point-blank range in the back, intending to kill him. Tran then fled the scene in his car.

The next morning, February 16, 2023, Tran returned to the Pico-Robertson area with the intention of shooting another Jewish person, which he did. The victim was also wearing a kippah and was leaving a synagogue after attending religious services. The perpetrator shot him at point-blank range with the intention of killing him while the victim was crossing the street. Tran again fled the scene. 

Both victims survived the attacks. Authorities arrested Tran on February 17 and he has remained in custody since then.

The FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department continue to investigate the matter.

 

This publication was supported in whole or part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the CaliFornia State

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Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.

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