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Man Accused of Using Vehicle in Potential Hate Crime

He tried to run down pedestrians outside an LA synagogue, police say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2018 1:44 AM CST
This undated photo released by the Los Angeles Police Department shows Mohamed Mohamed Abdi.   (Los Angeles Police Department via AP)

(Newser) – Witnesses say a driver tried to run down pedestrians outside a Los Angeles synagogue Friday night—and then did a U-turn for a second attempt at running them over. Security camera footage shows the vehicle plowing across traffic after the attack, hitting two vehicles. Mohamed Mohamed Abdi, a US citizen originally from Somalia, was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, CBS Los Angeles reports. Police say they are investigating reports that the 32-year-old was shouting anti-Semitic abuse at people near the intersection where the attack took place, which has two synagogues. A knife was found in the rented car Abdi was driving, police say.

The Los Angeles Police Department says the FBI and other agencies have been called in to help investigate the incident, which is being treated as a potential hate crime, ABC 7 reports. LAPD Deputy Chief Horace Frank says the two men Abdi targeted escaped injury by hiding behind an electric box and a traffic light, KTLA reports. The Los Angeles Times reports that investigators are now looking into Abdi's background. Frank says he moved to Seattle from Mogadishu a few years ago and drove to Los Angeles a few days before the attack. He says the suspect's "very concerning actions" strongly resemble those used in recent terror attacks. (Last week, a passenger was arrested after saying he wanted to "identify all the Jews" on a flight to Atlanta.)

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