Suspect but no motive in brutal killing of 104 year-old Youssef Mahboubian
Los Angeles police have no motive for the brutal slaying of 104 year-old Youssef Mahboubian, discovered in his Encino, California home on March 18, bludgeoned to death by a suspect armed with an axe and a knife.
Mahboubian was a beloved father and grandfather whose family is active in the Los Angeles Jewish community. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) representatives have not yet responded to Forward inquiries whether the murder is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
On Thursday, authorities arrested 47-year-old Adam Dimmerman in a quiet residential area in Encino in connection with two violent incidents occurring within a half-mile of each other.
LAPD officers arrested Dimmerman for an assault with a deadly weapon in a non-deadly incident that police responded to one hour before responding to the homicide.
The victim of the initial assault and several other witnesses pointed LAPD officers to a male white suspect, who was taken into custody. Police recovered an axe and knife at the scene.
An hour later, at 12:50 p.m., responding to a Fire Department request, LAPD officers found Mahboubian with numerous contusions and lacerations inside his residence. He was pronounced dead at scene by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics.
An LAPD statement said the investigation into the death is ongoing.
On March 19, news site Patch reported the suspect fled, and the victim of the non-deadly assault—a laborer who suffered cuts to his arm—followed him and called the police.
Patch reported that Detectives are confident Dimmerman committed both attacks, killing Mahboubian first, Patch reported.
The Los Angeles Times described the incidents as “seemingly random attacks.”
Police are holding Dimmerman on $2 million bail.
The incidents occurred in the San Fernando Valley, home to a sizable Jewish population as well as several large synagogues, including Stephen Wise Temple, where the victim’s relatives are members.
On Friday, Jewish community members expressed shock over the violent nature of Mahboubian’s’s death. Sam Yebri, founder of the Iranian Jewish organization 30 Years After and a candidate for a Los Angeles City Council seat, said the murder comes against the backdrop of a 38% increase in homicides in the city.
“Friday’s news was an unimaginable tragedy for the Mahboubian family that should be a wake up call for all of us,” he told the Forward.
Iranian Jewish community activists said the killing of Mahboubian has raised serious concerns for their mostly insular community about the rise in crime in Los Angeles, especially in the upscale suburb of Encino.
“The attack occurred amid a surge in murders we haven’t seen in Los Angeles in over a decade, said Siamak Kordestani, an Iranian Jewish activist and board member of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA). “Many are deeply concerned about our city’s future.”
George Haroonian, an Iranian Jewish activist in Los Angeles, called on law enforcement to step up its protection of the Jewish community and for L.A. county prosecutors to seek real justice for the Mahbobian family.
“We demand from authorities a stronger police presence, we demand full prosecution of criminals and not letting them go and justice for victims,” said Haroonian. “For the devastated family of Mr. Mahbobian, I suggest that these events should make our community get more involved in the civic affairs of the city that we live in.”
Mahbobian’s killing comes at a difficult time for many Iranian Jews in Los Angeles who just last November faced a similar tragedy when 62-year-old Iranian Jewish businessman Eshagh Natanzadeh of Beverly Hills was stabbed to death in his downtown L.A. jewelry store.
In December, Los Angeles police released a photograph of a suspect whom police described as a “30- to 40-year-old male Hispanic” from a video camera in the store. No suspect has been arrested yet in the Natanzadeh killing.
Karmel Melamed contributed to this reporting. This story will be updated.
LAPD is asking anybody with addition information about the incidents to call the LAPD Valley Bureau homicide division at (818) 374-1925.