Even as hate-inspired mass shootings like those in El Paso and Dayton seem to grow more common and more deadly by the day, many in Los Angeles will never forget the images from an anti-Semitic attack in Granada Hills 20 years ago.
On the morning of Aug. 10, 1999, a self-avowed white supremacist from Washington state carried a semi-automatic rifle into the lobby of the North Valley Jewish Community Center and fired 70 rounds. Buford O. Furrow Jr. shot and wounded three little boys, a teenage counselor and a receptionist.
Then he fled to Chatsworth, where he shot and killed Joseph Ileto, a Filipino American mailman. Then he took a taxi cab to Las Vegas and turned himself in. Furrow, who had ties to neo-Nazi hate groups in the Pacific Northwest, later told authorities he murdered Ileto because he looked Asian or Latino, and because he was a federal worker.
He also said he was trying to “send a message to America by killing Jews.” Authorities recovered five assault weapons, two handguns and 7,000 rounds of ammunition from his vehicles.
Just a few months after a mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado had left 15 people dead, this Jewish community center in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley was in the national spotlight -- a flashpoint in a growing conversation about guns and hate. The tragic event would reshape security at synagogues and Jewish institutions around the country and help launch the modern gun violence prevention movement.