Two men were injured today by an gunman during morning prayers at syanagogue in North Hollywood a section of Los Angeles in the city’s San Fernando Valley. The incident placed Southern California Jewish institutions on alert.
A motive was not given by Los Angeles Police Department. It is believed the the attack was by a lone shooter.
“We certainly recognize the location and we’re sensitive to that,” Deputy Police Chief Michel Moore said. “But we do not know that this was a hate crime at all.”
The two men in their 40’s are members of Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Orthodox synagogue. The men were shot both in the legs. The men had just arrived around 6:30 A.M. for morning prayers when the attack occurred.
The two men are in stable condition in a LA area hospital. They are expected fully recover soon.
The police described the alleged assailant as black male wearing a hooded sweatshirt. LAPD was had detained a person who filled the description he was released later.
The FBI joined in the search.
“We are being vigilant for any follow-ups that may occur,” Moore said.
The police is being investigated as a hate crime. However, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa cautioned the public from overreacting.
“Until they have concluded their investigation, none of us, none of us should presume or speculate more about this crime other than it was a random act of violence,” Villaraigosa said.
A student of the synagogue school 13 year old Shayan Yaghoubi, was heading to school when he and his parent was turned away for their safety.
“The cops told us we can’t go,” he said. “I feel very bad because this is my favorite school … I have a lot of friends over there. I hope everyone is OK. There’s never been a problem with fighting.”
A local resident Micheal Bloom 30, says the area has a history of Antisemitism.
“This has been going on for years. Everything from “death to Israel” to “dirty Jew,'” he said. “There are gangs in the area. It’s not the safest neighborhood.”
But Sholomo Yaghobi, 18 says the neighborhood is “calm, relatively.”
His brother who attends the schools is concerned.
“I’m upset if something would have happened to my brother, who would answer to that?” he said.
A spokesperson from the Simon Wiesenthal Center a Jewish Civil Rights organization told FOX 11 News.
“When an attack actually takes place in the perimeter of a house of worship, it’s a source of deep concern,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told KTTV. “Look, we don’t know whether this is a lone gunman, it could be drugs, who knows. But the fact of the matter is there were no words exchanged, violence was used.”
Rabi Cooper analyzed timing of the attack.
“If it’s someone who had been watching the community they would know that every weekday morning somewhere between 10 and 25 or 30 men are going to be coming to the early morning service.”
This comes 10 years from the attack on the Jewish Community Center by White Supremacist Bufford Furrow in Northridge section of LA. Furrow shot and wounded 3 kids, a teen and adult. Furrow then proceeded to kill a Filipino Mail Man. He is serving life in prison with out the possibility of parole.