A federal complaint was released on February 17 detailing federal charges against Jaime Tran, 28, who is suspected of being behind both shootings in the Pico-Robertson area on February 15 and 16.
The complaint, filed by Special Agent Cody Bescript, alleges that Tran “intentionally shot Victim-1 at close range as Victim-1 was leaving religious services at a synagogue in Los Angeles, California. Victim-1 was dressed in a manner that visibly identified his Jewish faith, specifically, a black jacket and a head covering. Victim-1 survived, but sustained a gunshot wound to the lower back.”
On the next day, according to the complaint, Tran “intentionally shot Victim-2 at close range as Victim-2 was leaving religious services at another synagogue, just one block from where TRAN shot Victim-1 the day before.”
“Like Victim-1, Victim-2 was dressed in clothing that visibly identified his Jewish faith, again a black jacket and a head covering. Victim-2 survived, but sustained a gunshot wound to the bicep.”
Tran has admitted to the shootings in a recorded interview, adding that he searched Yelp for a kosher supermarket. Once he found the market, he chose his victims based on their “head gear.” He also said he was homeless and had been living out of his car for the past 12-14 months; he obtained the guns from an unknown person in Arizona.
Tran has a history of antisemitism, the complaint alleges, citing an instance in which a former classmate of Tran’s, simply known as M.N.H., received multiple antisemitic phone calls and texts from Tran from August-November 2022. Tran had been expelled from dental school in 2018. Some of the antisemitic text messages from Tran highlighted in the complaint include:
- “F–king Jew. Piece of shit Jew. F— YOU JEW. JEWBAG JEWBAGEL JEW.”
- “Someone is going to kill you, Jew. Someone is going to kill you, Jew. Someone is going to kill you, Jew. Someone is going to kill you, Jew.”
- “F—ing b—- Jew. Your mom is a slutty whore, your sister is a man, and your dad sucks dick for a living. Burn in an oven chamber you b—- Jew.”
The last text included a picture of a gas chamber, per the complaint.
Tran sent multiple emails to former classmates blaming vaccine mandates and lockdowns on “Iranian Jews” and referred to “Persian Jews” as being “primitive” and “narrow minded” who “scrap nickel and dimes” and “never donate to any charities.”
Additionally, Tran sent multiple emails to former classmates toward the end of 2022 blaming COVID-19 vaccine mandates and lockdowns on “Iranian Jews” and referred to “Persian Jews” as being “primitive” and “narrow minded” who “scrap nickel and dimes” and “never donate to any charities.” “Going forward, I hope you all spread the word to your loved ones about the origins of COVID,” he wrote in one email. “I tagged the Iranian Jew, such as [M.N.H.], and his associates in this email so you could ask them about it. I also hope they quit putting tabs on me to the Jewish community and creeping on all of my socials.”
In another email Tran accused the “Persian/Iranian Jew of the Class of 2020” of fabricating COVID-19 and basing it on an “anesthesia incident that I had with” a couple of former classmates. He also sent a picture of a flyer stating, “EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF THE COVID AGENDA IS JEWISH.”
He also sent a picture of a flyer stating, “EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF THE COVID AGENDA IS JEWISH.”
According to a senior source, Tran could face up to life in prison. He is expected to have a hearing today, per the source.
“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,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement. “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.”
Donald Alway, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, also said in a statement, “In addition to targeting innocent people with violent physical attacks, these crimes instill fear in the community. There is no place in Los Angeles and, indeed, the United States of America, for fear to control communities and to intimidate people of faith. Law enforcement will work together to prevent hate crimes, whether they be civil liberties violations or acts of terror. On behalf of the FBI, I wish a full recovery to the victims who were senselessly attacked for their faith, as well as peace to the Jewish community.”
“Blaming Jews for disease and plague is a historic antisemitic trope,” Robert J. Williams, Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation, said in a statement to the Journal.
“The charging document for the shootings of two Jewish men details the actions of an individual with a deep hatred for Jews whose antisemitism motivated him to violence,” Anti-Defamation League Los Angeles Regional Director Jeffrey I. Abrams said in a statement to the Journal. “It simply doesn’t get any scarier or more dangerous for the Jewish community. We are grateful that the immediate terror of this incident is behind us but recognize that antisemitism continues to take hold of our community.”
American Jewish Committee Los Angeles Regional Director Richard S. Hirschhaut said in a statement to the Journal, “The Federal complaint against shooting suspect Jaime Tran reveals a litany of disturbing social pathologies, underpinned by vitriolic conspiracy theories about Jews, and Persian Jews in particular. That Tran was able to spew such hateful and threatening invective, targeting former classmates and others with impunity, begs the question of why there was no meaningful intervention before he ultimately acted upon his violent intentions. The all too often lethal combination of mental illness, easy access to guns, and hate is a toxic mix and increasingly tragic refrain that must be addressed in our society.”
StandWithUs CEO and Co-Founder Roz Rothstein, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, said in a statement to the Journal, “It is horrifying that once again, classic antisemitic troupes spewed by a deranged man escalated to violence against the Jews he collectively blames for Covid 19 and financial losses. Scapegoating Jews for one’s frustrations is a classic antisemitic tactic that we must, as a society, identify and reject as the bigotry it is. It is miraculous that his violent assaults did not result in greater tragedy. StandWithUs thanks the police for their diligence in capturing him. There were obvious red flags in Tran’s texts and behavior, a reminder that the Jewish community has to exercise active caution and serious prevention. We need to be diligent in recognizing these signs, never to ignore them and always report them to school administrations and law enforcement.”
“Blaming Jews for disease and plague is a historic antisemitic trope,” Robert J. Williams, Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation, said in a statement to the Journal. “The shooter claiming Jews were responsible for COVID is just the latest version of the same lie. These events remind us why it’s so important to combat disinformation.”
Read the full complaint here.
This is a developing story.