LOS ANGELES (CBS) – The man suspected in last week’s explosion outside the Chabad House synagogue in Santa Monica was charged with four felony counts today as county and federal prosecutors sought his extradition from Ohio.
Los Angeles County prosecutors charged Ron Hirsch, 60, with one count each of explosion with intent to murder, use of a destructive device and explosive to injure or destroy, possession of a destructive device near a public place and possession of a destructive device near a residence. The charges could carry a potential life prison term.
An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles alleges that Hirsch violated federal law when he fled from California to Ohio by bus sometime last Thursday, the same day as the Santa Monica explosion. After stops in at least 10 destinations, Hirsch was arrested in suburban Cleveland Heights Monday and placed in FBI custody after showing up at a synagogue and asking a rabbi for a place to stay.
The FBI said Hirsch, also known as Israel Fisher, is a transient known beg outside synagogues and other Jewish community centers, including Congregation Bais Yehuda on North La Brea Avenue.
Anti-Defamation League Pacific Southwest Regional Director Amanda Susskind released a statement thanking “our partners in law enforcement — Santa Monica Police Department, FBI, ATF and other law enforcement agencies — for their diligence in investigating this crime and for taking a potential threat against area synagogues seriously.”
“As soon as the Santa Monica Police Department notified us that the April 7 incident may have been intentional, we sent a security alert to our database of Jewish institutions in the greater Los Angeles area, including a profile of the suspect,” Susskind said.
Hirsch is expected to make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Cleveland on Wednesday and then be brought to Los Angeles to face the charges.
According to authorities at the FBI, a motive for the Santa Monica attack is still unknown.
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