May 4, 2011
Suspect indicted in Santa Monica synagogue bombing
A homeless man was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of detonating an explosive device outside a Southern California Chabad House.
Ron Hirsch, 60, also known as Israel Fisher, was indicted in Los Angeles on Tuesday for the April 7 blast at the Santa Monica Chabad House, which forced the evacuation of the Jewish center and synagogue during early morning prayers.
Hirsch was arrested four days later in a suburban Cleveland synagogue and Jewish center by the FBI and local police shortly after evening prayers as he sat studying from a Jewish text. A local rabbi had recognized his photo from a Jewish website.
The explosion launched a 300-pound metal pipe encased in concrete, which smashed through the roof of a home next door to the Chabad House. It was initially classified by police as an industrial accident. Items found near the site were linked to Hirsch, who fled across country by Greyhound bus.
Hirsch is charged with use of an explosive device to damage property, use of an explosive to commit a federal felony, use of a destructive device during a crime of violence and possession of an unregistered destructive device.
He faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted on the four felony charges, according to reports.
Hirsch was ordered extradited from Ohio, which he did not contest.