A man accused of shooting and wounding two Jewish men outside Los Angeles synagogues pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Federal charges against Jaime Tran, 28, include hate crimes and discharging a firearm in connection with a violent crime, NBC News reported.
He remains in custody without bail.
The shootings took place on February 15 and 16. Authorities said the victims were targeted for clothing that displayed their Jewish faith, including “black coats and head coverings,” according to an FBI affidavit.
Both shootings took place as the men were leaving separate synagogues.
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The first victim was shot a short distance in the lower back, and the other was shot point blank in the upper arm. In both cases, Tran allegedly took aim from a nearby car.
“Over the past two days, our community has experienced two horrific acts,” US Attorney Martin Estrada said shortly after the incident. “An individual motivated by anti-Semitism, hatred of people from the Jewish community, committed two tremendously horrifying acts against people for their Jewish faith.”
Tran admitted to police that he searched online for a “kosher market,” but instead decided to shoot someone nearby, authorities said.
The affidavit cited emails, text messages and other reports, including evidence from 2022 that he threatened a former Jewish classmate and sent emails to former classmates using insulting language about Jewish people.
Tran’s attorney, Kate Corrigan, said she was waiting for evidence to help build her client’s case.
“We will look at the general scenario in this case and address the charges,” he said Thursday.
with cable news services