Suspect in shooting of 2 Jewish men in LA pleads not guilty

Posted at 8:04 PM, March 9, 2023 and last updated 9:48 PM, May 2, 2023

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who allegedly shot and wounded two Jewish men as they left synagogues in Los Angeles last month pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal hate crimes, authorities said.

The shootings Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 brought fear into LA’s Jewish community after officials said the victims were targeted because they wore clothing that identified their faith, including black coats and head coverings. Both survived the violence.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, at podium, addresses community members and other local, state law enforcement officials in a town hall on antisemitic violence at YULA Boys High School in Los Angeles Monday, Feb. 20, 2023. The event is hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles following recent shootings targeting Jewish community members in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Jaime Tran, 28, is charged with two counts of hate crimes and two counts of using, carrying and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

He entered his not-guilty plea Thursday in federal court. He remains held without bail.

Kate Corrigan, one of Tran’s attorneys, said she expects to receive discovery-hearing evidence within the coming days as she prepares his defense.

“We’ll be looking at the overall scenario in this case and addressing the charges,” she said Thursday.

Tran told law enforcement that he looked online for a “kosher market” and decided to shoot someone nearby, according at an affidavit filed by the FBI. He also admitted to shooting someone the previous day, the affidavit said.

Tran has “history of antisemitic and threatening conduct,” an FBI affidavit said, citing a review of emails, text messages and unspecified reports.

In 2022, he emailed former classmates using insulting language about Jewish people, and he threatened a Jewish former classmate, repeatedly sending them messages like “Someone is going to kill you, Jew” and “I want you dead, Jew,” according to the affidavit.