LAPD investigates shooting at North Hollywood synagogue

Los Angeles firefighters and synagogue parishioners huddle at the scene in Los Angeles where a gunman shot and wounded two men in the parking garage of a North Hollywood synagogue early Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009. Jewish schools and temples were put on alert in case it was not a lone attack, authorities said.
Los Angeles firefighters and synagogue parishioners huddle at the scene in Los Angeles where a gunman shot and wounded two men in the parking garage of a North Hollywood synagogue early Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009. Jewish schools and temples were put on alert in case it was not a lone attack, authorities said. AP Photo/Nick Ut

Detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department continue to investigate a shooting at the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Orthodox synagogue.

At about 6:20 this morning, police in North Hollywood responded to reports of the shooting at the synagogue. They found two people wounded in the synagogue's parking structure.

The victims were evacuated to area hospitals and are reportedly in good condition. Police say the suspect shot at the victims as they arrived at the synagogue for morning services.

The synagogue had a video surveillance system, and they were able to catch an individual that could be the suspect on video. They were able to make out an individual, and they are using that tape to further identify a suspect.

The individual was a black male in his late teens to early 20s, wearing a hoodie. Police detained someone who fit that description 45 minutes after arriving on the scene, but they haven't said if he's a suspect. That person is talking to investigators.

At this point, police are treating the incident as a random act of violence and investigating it as an assault with a deadly weapon. At a news conference this morning, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials urged everyone not to rush to assume that the shooting is a hate crime.

Detectives are collaborating with the Jewish community in the investigation. Abraham Cooper, a rabbi with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, joined the mayor and praised the LAPD's relationships with the Jewish community and other religious communities in Southern California.

He said that Southern California is home to the second largest Jewish community in the world and expressed gratitude that the two victims were on the road to recovery.

Cooper called for vigilance. He said that there's no need to speculate on the suspect's motivation and that the police will find him, but that every school, every house of worship, and every community center needs to take control of its security on the ground.

Cooper also said that he had heard from the rabbi of this synagogue. There was supposed to be a bar mitzvah this morning there, but they couldn't get in, so they've rescheduled it for later this afternoon. Cooper said "We need to keep our eyes open, do our due diligence, and get on with our lives."

A finalist for the new LAPD chief position, Deputy Chief Michel Moore, was the incident commander at the scene. Also at the scene was another of the finalists, First Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell.

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