A Somalia native has been arrested for trying to drive a car into a group of Jewish pedestrians in a Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.
“Mohamed Mohamed Abdi has been arrested for an Assault with a Deadly Weapon/Hate Crime that occurred in the area of Highland & Oakwood (major cross street Beverly Blvd) on November 23rd,” the LAPD tweeted Monday.
Hate has no home in Los Angeles
Mohamed Mohamed Abdi has been arrested for an Assault with a Deadly Weapon/Hate Crime that occurred in the area of Highland & Oakwood (major cross street Beverly Blvd) on November 23rd. Any additional victims contact LAPD Major Crimes 213-486-7220 pic.twitter.com/UdF3fNYW5Z
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) November 27, 2018
Deputy Chief Horace Frank said at a news conference that Abdi was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and is now a U.S. citizen. The FBI is also involved in the investigation and Abdi could face federal charges, according to KNBC.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said two men appeared to be deliberately targeted in the incident that took place Friday night.
“He’s yelling out hateful remarks regarding Jewish heritage and regarding these people of faith,” Moore said. “They watch him as he then turns his vehicle directly at them.”
Moore said a knife was found in the car, according to KTLA.
Moore also said that Abdi had been living in the Seattle area, but recently drove to Los Angeles. The reason for the move was unclear, the Los Angeles Times reported.
One of the victims said they were fortunate to survive two attempts by the driver who tried to hit them.
“We both scrambled in different directions so he slammed on his brakes and missed us, thank God,” one victim, who asked to remain anonymous, told KCAL.
“He clearly was going at us and it was even more clear on round two,” the victim said. “There definitely was a God watching us.”
— Carly Pildis (@CarlyPildis) November 26, 2018
“Why he chose us? Probably because of the yarmulkes on our heads,” the victim said.
Security cameras recorded the incident, and one witness took a photo showing a copy of the Quran on the dashboard of the car trying to hit the men.
“I think this is just a much more violent, scary world than we all though it was,” neighbor Michael Schwartz said. “We had a few years of civility after the Holocaust and now that window is closing.”
“Hate in America is on the rise,” Moore said. “That has to change. And a portion of that is that every community recognize that when such acts occur, that the department — LAPD — that our federal and state partners will bring the full weight of the law to hold accountable those who believe that there would be some other type of response.”
Moore said so far, investigators believe Abdi was acting alone and not part of a group.
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