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Suspect identified in blast at Santa Monica synagogue

Suspect Police were searching Friday for a suspect in the Santa Monica synagogue explosion that authorities had earlier believed to be an accidental blast.

Santa Monica police released a photograph of Ron Hirsch, 60, a short, heavyset man also known as Israel Fisher, saying they believe he was behind Thursday morning’s blast outside Chabad House on 17th Street between Broadway and Santa Monica Boulevard. Police described Hirsch as a transient.

"Hirsch should be considered extremely dangerous," states a police bulletin sent to other law enforcement agencies.

He is described as white, 5 feet 7, weighing 207 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.

The bulletin said Hirsch was known to frequent synagogues and Jewish community centers in search of charity, among them Congregation Bais Yehuda on North La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles.

The blast sent a 300-pound metal pipe encased in concrete hurtling through the air and crashing through the roof of a home next door to Chabad House. Originally authorities had said they believed the explosion was a freak industrial accident.

But on Friday, bomb technicians and detectives scouring the scene discovered evidence that the blast was caused by an explosive device, police said. Items found nearby were linked to Hirsch, who was being sought on state charges of possession of a destructive device and other charges.

The motive for the attack was unknown, police said. Joining local authorities in investigating the case were the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

On Friday afternoon, the Anti-Defamation League issued a security alert to synagogues and other Jewish organizations in the Los Angeles area.

"ADL has no information regarding a specific threat against any Jewish institution," the league announced in the alert. "However, community members should be extra vigilant."

Amanda Susskind, the league’s Los Angeles regional director, said in an interview that the alert was "not intended to create panic or a drama," but rather to keep people on the outlook for a man who seems to be disturbed.

She also said there was no indication that the suspect was part of a terrorist plot.


Homemade explosive device reportedly caused blast next to Santa Monica synagogue; police seek suspect

Freak industrial accident blamed for explosion near temple

No bomb or foul play in blast near Chabad House in Santa Monica

-- Michael Finnegan

Photo: Ron Hirsch

Credit: Santa Monica Police Department


Comments () | Archives (9)

Great article.

"Originally authorities had said they believed the explosion was a freak industrial accident."

An unbelievable assumption in the first place. When has that EVER happened?

"She also said there was no indication that the suspect was part of a terrorist plot." ie, he isn't Muslim.

This nutcase should be pretty easy to find and apprehend. If he has any smarts he is actively seeking a good attorney and a psychiatrist that will certify him as seriously mentally ill and cannot be held responsible for his actions.

Now, oh Los Angeles Times, I request you to investigate why incorrect information was issued by the authorities. Was it an innocent mistake, or were you being lied to?

And if you were being lied to, why? What were they trying to hide and why?

Schigolch and others - News reporters are not given all the details of a case, for a reason. The law/authorities give news outlets information as it comes about and is deemed, as best as it can be, to be correct. In this case, they made a mistake about the industrial accident - buildings with old gas/electric lines explode all the time. They especially aren't going to give the name of a suspect until they are fairly sure that the person is a legitimate person of interest.

People seem to forget that, news outlets and law enforcement are 2 entirely different and separate occupations, which do not share identical information, and have absolutely different motivations for releasing content.

He is not that mentally disturbed if he can make a bomb that powerful. It was just the grace of God no one was killed and he would then be wanted for murder.

Articles published on the topic are full of erroneous information: (1) initially, this was reported as a freak industrial accident; (2) later on, articles reported of explosion during Passover get-together, i.e., two weeks before the actual festivity; (3) a third “wave” of information declared that the person responsible (obviously Jewish, from the name) was a homeless obtaining food from the synagogues; (4) it was also reported that the device was “sophisticated” or “unusual.” How would a homeless person be able to construct a sophisticated device, in the street? Explosions have been used numerous times at Jewish places of worship or organizations in Argentina, Turkey, India, and USA. It looks like the police are framing an easy victim. Don’t journalists ever investigate their source of information?


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