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Passenger accused of shooting two Jewish men in Los Angeles must plead guilty, prosecutors say – Orange County Register

A passenger with a history of anti-Semitism who authorities say admitted to trying to kill two people he believed to be Jewish in Los Angeles in 2023 has agreed to plead guilty to hate crimes and other offenses, said Tuesday May 14 the US Department of Justice. .

Jaime Tran, 29, lived in Riverside and was arrested in Cathedral City on February 16, 2023, the day of the second shooting in two days in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles. Tran had a rifle and a handgun. when he was arrested, authorities said.

The charges, both criminal, are two counts of hate crimes with intent to kill and two counts of using, carrying and discharging a firearm during and in connection with a crime of violence. Tran is expected to plead guilty before U.S. District Judge George H. Wu in Los Angeles in the coming weeks, according to a DOJ press release.

Tran will face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison for each hate crime count. For the gun-related charges, Tran could face a minimum sentence of 10 years on each count and a maximum sentence of life in prison, the release said. But under a plea deal with prosecutors, Tran would be sentenced to 35 to 40 years in prison.

“These horrific acts – motivated by poisonous anti-Semitic beliefs – shocked our community,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in the statement. “Law enforcement will continue to work together to prevent and punish hate crimes. Our resolve remains strong, standing alongside our Jewish community and others to oppose acts of hatred. »

According to the plea agreement, Tran admitted to developing and espousing anti-Semitic beliefs and making violent threats against Jewish people. In 2018, Tran left dental school after making hateful statements toward other students he considered Jewish.

From August 2022 to December 2022, Tran’s anti-Semitic statements increased, including threats against a former classmate whom he repeatedly called and texted with messages such as “I want you to die, Jew”, “Someone is going to kill you, Jew”. and “Burning in a furnace chamber,” the DOJ statement said.

In November 2022, Tran emailed two dozen former classmates a flyer 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 describing Jews as “primitive” and having “thick skulls.”

Due to previous mental health detentions, Tran was barred from purchasing firearms. In January 2023, Tran asked someone to buy him two guns. Tran paid approximately $1,500 in cash to this person, who then purchased them.

On February 15, 2023, Tran conducted an online search for “kosher market” and planned to shoot someone near a kosher market because he thought there would be Jews in the area. Tran drove to Pico-Robertson and shot a Jewish victim wearing a yarmulke at point-blank range as he left religious services at a synagogue, according to the release. Tran then fled in his car.

The next morning, Tran returned to the Pico-Robertson area, intending to shoot another Jew. Tran shot a second Jewish victim, also wearing a yarmulke and leaving a synagogue after attending religious services. Tran also shot that victim at point-blank range, the statement said.

Both victims survived.

Witness statements and images of Tran and his car led authorities to track him down and arrest him.

The shootings have angered the Jewish community amid a rise in hate crimes nationwide and prompted the LAPD to increase its presence in the area.

California Daily Newspapers

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