Man to plead guilty to hate crimes in shooting of Jewish men

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A former Riverside resident has agreed to plead guilty to federal hate crime and gun charges stemming from the shooting of two Jewish men leaving synagogues last year.

Jaime Tran, 29, will plead to two counts of hate crimes with intent to kill and two counts of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.

The attacks on Feb. 15 and 16, 2023, occurred in the Pico-Robertson area of Los Angeles, where Tran sought potential victims near a kosher market and targeted men wearing yarmulkes.

In both cases, Tran shot Jewish men at close range with the intent to kill them before fleeing, prosecutors said.

“Both victims survived the attacks. Law enforcement arrested Tran on February 17 and he has remained in custody since then,” the DOJ said.

“These horrific acts – motivated by poisonous, antisemitic beliefs – shocked our community,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “Law enforcement will continue to work together to prevent and punish hate crimes. Our resolve remains firm, standing with our Jewish community and others to oppose acts of hate.”

Prior to the attacks, Tran “developed and espoused antisemitic beliefs and made violent threats toward Jewish people,” prosecutors said.

In 2018, he left dental school after making “hate-filled statements” about classmates he thought were Jewish, the DOJ said. Between August and December 2022, he continued making violent and antisemitic statements, including against a former classmate to whom he wrote “I want you dead, Jew,” “Someone is going to kill you, Jew” and “Burn in an oven chamber,” the DOJ added.

“In November 2022, Tran emailed two dozen former classmates a flyer containing antisemitic propaganda, including the statement, ‘EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF THE COVID AGENDA IS JEWISH,’” the release said. “The following month, Tran emailed his former classmates excerpts from a website describing Jewish persons as ‘primitive’ and having ‘thick skulls.’”

He was prohibited from buying guns, though in 2023, a third party bought two firearms for him in Phoenix.

Tran faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison on each hate crime count and each firearm count, as well as a mandatory minimum of 10 years for each gun count. The plea agreement is expected to result in a sentence of 35 to 40 years.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.