Police Eye Suspect in Santa Monica Chabad House Bombing


Published April 10, 2011.
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Police are seeking a 60-year-old man who is suspected of being responsible for an explosion next to the Chabad House in Santa Monica, Calif.

Santa Monica Police identified the suspect as Ron Hirsch, also known as Israel Fisher, The Los Angeles Times reported. A photo of Hirsch, released by police, showed a heavy-set man with a bushy brown beard and green eyes.

The April 7 blast, believed to be deliberately set after initially being classified by police as an industrial accident, forced the evacuation of the Jewish center and synagogue during early morning prayers. It raised security concerns at Los Angeles-area synagogues and Jewish institutions.

Hirsch is known to frequent synagogues and Jewish community centers seeking charity from patrons, according to the police bulletin, which warned that Hirsch, a transient, should be considered “extremely dangerous.”

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.

Initial reports attributed the blast to hazardous construction material stored in an alley near the Chabad House, but further investigation by police, the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms found evidence that the blast was caused purposely by an explosive device.

Items found near the site were linked to Hirsch, who is being sought on state charges of possessing a destructive device and additional charges.

On Friday, Amanda Susskind, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, issued a security alert to Jewish institutions and houses of worship in the Los Angeles area urging residents to be on the lookout for the apparently disturbed man.

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