Jewish Journal


April 8, 2011

[UPDATE]: Suspect arrested in connection with explosion near Santa Monica Chabad


Ron Hirsch, AKA Israel Fisher is being sought in connection to the explosion that occurred near the Santa Monica Chabad House early Thursday morning. Photo courtesy Santa Monica Police Department

Ron Hirsch, AKA Israel Fisher is being sought in connection to the explosion that occurred near the Santa Monica Chabad House early Thursday morning. Photo courtesy Santa Monica Police Department

[UPDATED on April 12, 7:10 a.m.]: Authorities are reporting the suspect Ron Hirsch, sought in connection with the explosion near the Santa Monica Chabad last Thursday has been arrested. More information here.

[UPDATED on 11:55 a.m.]:
Ron Hirsch is believed to have fled Los Angeles, according to a statement released by the Santa Monica Police Department. An excerpt from the statement below:

A man wanted for questioning in connection with an investigation into last week’s explosion outside the Chabad House synagogue, in Santa Monica, California, is believed to have boarded a Greyhound bus on the day of the incident, Thursday, April 7, 2011. Investigators confirmed that a man known as J. Fisher, a known alias used by suspect, Ron Hirsch, purchased a Greyhound bus ticket to New York that was originally scheduled to arrive Sunday, April 10th. There are at least ten destinations in between Los Angeles and New York. Additional investigation and video surveillance indicates that Hirsch disembarked the bus in Denver and may have further deviated from his original route. Hirsch is believed to have family in New York.

[UPDATED on Monday, April 11 at 10:45 a.m.]:
Officials with the Santa Monica Police Department continue to search for Ron Hirsch, the suspect linked to last Thursday’s explosion outside the Chabad House of Santa Monica. ABC News reported earlier today that Hirsch—who has been described as a transient and was known for frequenting synagogues in hopes for handouts—was last seen on a bus in Denver, but Sgt. Jay Trisler of SMPD said, during phone interview this morning, “I don’t have any information on [that] at this time.”

“It’s still an ongoing investigation,” Trisler added.

Keep checking back for updates.

[Updated at 6:31 p.m.]:  Santa Monica Patch is reporting that Ron Hirsch has not been taken into custody, contrary to previous reports. He was thought to have been taken into custody after police officials were alerted to and searched a suspicious car, parked in a residential neighborhood near the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Bundy Dr., that was believed to belong to Hirsch. In fact, the car in question doesn’t belong to Hirsch. 

For video interviews from the explosion site, including the rabbi and others’ comments on the suspect, click here

[Updated at 5:22 p.m.]:  Santa Monica Patch is reporting that the Ron Hirsh is now in custody.

The Santa Monica Police Department released late Friday a special bulletin that they have evidence that the explosion Thursday near the Chabad of Santa Monica was not a mechanical explosion. Originally believed to be an accident, further forensic analysis has led police to seek a heavyset white male with brown hair and green eyes known as Ron Hirsch or Israel Fisher, aged 60.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that law enforcement officers found gun powder in the explosive device that landed on a residential rooftop early Thursday morning while prayers were in session at the Chabad. No one was hurt from the explosion.

The police report says that the man “is known to frequent synagogues and Jewish Community Centers in search of charity from patrons.  He is known to have frequented the synagogue located at 360 North La Brea Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90036,” and that he should be “considered extremely dangerous.” The bulletin instructs anyone with information to contact the Santa Monica Police Department, Detective Leone at (310) 458-8949. 

The alert was also distributed Friday afternoon by the Los Angeles office of the ADL. Detective Leone could not be immediately reached for comment. ADL said they have no information of threats against other Jewish insitutions but recommend vigilance.


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