HomeAsian AmericansRiverside man pleads guilty to anti-Semitic hate crimes

Riverside man pleads guilty to anti-Semitic hate crimes

A 29-year-old man from Riverside, California, recently pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes and firearm offenses for shooting and injuring two Jewish men as they left synagogues in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of West Los Angeles last year.

The culprit, Jaime Tran, pleaded guilty on Monday to all charges against him, which included two charges of hate crimes with the intent to kill, and two counts of using, carrying, and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, Los Angeles Daily News reports.

On Feb. 15, 2023, Tran planned to target Jewish people near a nearby kosher market, driving to Pico-Robertson, and proceeded to shoot a Jewish man at close range in the back, as he was leaving a synagogue, before driving away from the scene in his car. The next morning, on Feb. 16, Tran returned to Pico-Robertson, where he shot another Jewish man leaving a synagogue at close range, before fleeing the scene. Both of the victims survived, and Tran was arrested by the police on Feb. 17.

“This defendant sought to murder two men simply because they were Jewish”, said U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada in a press release on May 14, “Hate and intolerance have no place in America. We will remain firm in our approach of using all the tools at our disposal to aggressively prosecute acts of hate.”.

In the plea agreement, Tran admitted to holding antisemitic beliefs and making hostile threats towards Jewish people in the past. In 2018, he left dental school after making anti-semitic statements towards peers he perceived as Jewish.

From August to December 2022, Tran’s anti semitic statements became more numerous and violent. As reported by the Pasadena Star-News, these included “I want you dead, Jew,” “Someone is going to kill you, Jew”, and “Burn in an oven chamber,” which were all directed at a former classmate via repeated calls and texts. In November 2022, Tran distributed a flyer containing anti-semitic propaganda, including a statement blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on a Jewish conspiracy, to two dozen former classmates via email.

Tran is currently in custody. His sentencing was set to Aug. 5 by U.S. District George H. Wu, and is expected to receive a 35 – 40 year prison sentence, according to his plea agreement.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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