Suspect in shooting of 2 Jewish men in Los Angeles last year agrees to plead guilty to hate crimes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 29-year-old man accused of shooting and wounding two Jewish men as they left synagogues in Los Angeles last year has agreed to plead guilty to hate crimes and firearms offenses, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The February 2023 shootings raised fears among the city'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 of them survived.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Jaime Tran agreed to plead guilty to all charges against him: two counts of hate crimes with intent to kill and two counts of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

Tran will enter his plea in the coming weeks and as part of his deal with prosecutors will receive a prison sentence of between 35 years and 40 years, the office said in a statement.

“This defendant sought to murder two men simply because they were Jewish,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in the statement. “We will remain firm in our approach of using all the tools at our disposal to aggressively prosecute acts of hate.”

Tran told law enforcement that he looked online for a “kosher market” and decided to shoot someone nearby, according to an FBI affidavit.

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

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