A suspect was taken into custody Thursday after two Orthodox Jewish men were shot while leaving houses of worship in the city’s Pico-Robertson neighborhood, authorities said.

LAPD has confirmed the case is being investigated as a hate crime.

The suspect, described as an Asian male with a mustache and goatee, was taken into custody in Riverside County. Police believe he is responsible for both shooting incidents.

The first shooting occurred just before 10 a.m. Wednesday in the 1400 block of Shenandoah Street, said Los Angeles police. The victim’s condition was not immediately known.

The second shooting occurred Thursday around 8:30 a.m. in the 1600 block of S. Bedford Street, roughly two blocks from the first location. The victim suffered a gunshot wound to the arm and was in stable condition, the Jewish Journal reported.

Following the suspect’s arrest around 5:45 p.m., detectives recovered several items of evidence including a rifle and a handgun.

Jewish community members believe the victims were targeted because of their faith.

“This is a horrific hate crime, and we have to find the criminal(s) who perpetrated this act,” said Rabbi David Baron of Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at Saban Theatre. “Who else would come out and shoot somebody specifically coming from a synagogue at a time of prayer?“

The shooting has left many community members on edge.

To see police cars outside the synagogues and the Jewish day schools is very concerning,” said Chaim Sternthal, a Pico-Robertson resident.

LAPD said they were reallocating resources to Pico-Robertson’s sizeable Jewish community.

“The LAPD is working with state and federal authorities on this investigation,” officials said Thursday night. “In an abundance of caution, there will continue to be an increased police presence and patrols around Jewish places of worship and surrounding neighborhoods through the weekend.”

Community security organizations like Magivim and Shmira are also patrolling the Pico-Robertson area on Thursday night, trying to provide some peace of mind to residents.

“The concerns that we’ve been receiving at Magivim is, ‘Is it safe for my child to walk to school?’ ‘Is it safe to walk to synagogue?’ ‘Do we have enough security?'” said Ronit Edry, cofounder of Magivim. “These are the concerns and they’re valid concerns.”

City leaders also responded to the violent incidents.

“These attacks against members of our Jewish community are unacceptable,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass tweeted, saying her office was working with city and Jewish community leaders to “ensure that ALL Angelenos feel safe.”

2 Orthodox Jews Shot
The shooting scene in the 1400 block of Shenandoah Street. Los Angeles, California. Feb. 15, 2023 (Citizen)

“These two shootings are deeply concerning,” Los Angeles city councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky said in a statement. “We have seen a rise in antisemitic attacks in recent months, and while there remain questions on the motivation of these particular shootings, we cannot ignore the pain and trauma that they have triggered in the community.”

Vivian Eisenstaedt, who lives in the neighborhood, knows one of the victims and spoke with him after the shooting.

“He’s being very Jewish about it. He’s being very grateful,” Eisenstaedt told KTLA. “He keeps saying that this is a miracle that nothing happened to him…and he just wants to move on.”

“A Jewish community is at its strongest when we come together as a community,” said Ivan Wolkind, Chief Operating and Financial Officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “And that’s a wonderful thing. But what it does do, is it gives someone who wishes harm upon us a way to find Jews at known places and at known times and that leaves people feeling vulnerable.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact LAPD at 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8577.