UPDATED: Synagogue Bombing Suspect Charged; Court Date Set

Ron Hirsch is reportedly facing four felony counts and could be sent to prison for life.

(Updated on Tuesday at 5:59 p.m.): Hirsch is facing four felony counts and could spend the rest of his life behind bars, according to City News Service.

Federal prosecutors have reportedly charged him with one count each of explosion with intent to murder; use of a destructive device and explosive to injure or destroy; possession of a destructive device near a public place; and possession of a destructive device near a residence.

Also, CNS reports that the affidavit filed in U.S. District Court claims that Hirsch broke federal law when he went from California to Ohio via bus. It was previously unclear how he had traveled from Denver, where he images of him were captured on surveillance video on Friday, to Ohio.


(Updated on Tuesday at 3:01 p.m.): Hirsch is due to appear in U.S. District Court in Cleveland on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time, the SMPD announced Tuesday afternoon. He is currently in federal custody in Cleveland and will likely be transported to Los Angeles, per a federal warrant.

Earlier in the day, a criminal complaint charging Hirsch with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for damaging or destroying any building or other real or personal property was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

"Prosecutors with the United States Attorney’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office, working with investigators, are examining potential charges in connection with the explosion," police also said.


(Updated on Tuesday at 2:09 p.m.): The Cleveland Heights Police Department released more information Tuesday afternoon about Hirsch's arrest.

Cleveland Heights Police responded to a call at 6:49 p.m. Monday about a "suspicious male" at the Agudath Israel, Kollel Torah L.I.F.E. building on South Taylor Road.

Officers identified Hirsch as the man linked to the blast in Santa Monica and arrested him. Police held him in Cleveland Heights Jail until 3 p.m., when the FBI took over.

Police did not say where he is being held now, and the Cleveland division of the FBI could not be immediately reached for comment.


(Updated on Tuesday at 10:55 a.m.): On Tuesday morning, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement regarding Hirsch's arrest.

“We thank and commend our partners in law enforcement—Santa Monica Police Department, FBI, ATF and other law enforcement agencies—for their diligence in investigating this crime and for taking a potential threat against area synagogues seriously,” ADL Pacific Southwest Regional Director Amanda Susskind said.

The ADL issued an alert Friday after authorities linked Hirsch to the explosion.

"If he's out there and has nefarious goals, we wanted people to be extra vigilant and careful," Susskind told Santa Monica Patch.

Also, Susskind speculated that the explosion probably was not a terrorist or anti-Semitic act.

"[The incident] seems more in the nature of a disturbed individual," she said.

Go here for more on Hirsch's arrest in Ohio.


(Updated at 10:44 p.m.): Hirsch was arrested after visiting a synagogue in Cleveland Heights, according to ABC News. He reportedly went to the synagogue on Sunday night, asking for food and shelter.

"The rabbi who spotted him called the Cleveland Heights police, who immediately responded and called the FBI,'' Rabbi Sruly Wolf reportedly said. Wolf is a rabbi at Chevra Kadisha of Cleveland and a chaplain for the Cleveland Police Department, Santa Monica Patch has learned.

Hirsch reportedly did not divulge his identity, leading rabbis to put him up in a motel after feeding him dinner.

"Things did not seem right," said another rabbi, whose name was not specified.

It remains unclear how Hirsch traveled from Denver to Cleveland Heights.


(Updated at 7:34 p.m.): An individual believed to be synagogue bombing suspect Ron Hirsch has been taken into custody in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, FBI Public Affairs Specialist Laura Eimiller has confirmed to Santa Monica Patch.

"The individual in custody was arrested following a call to law enforcement by a concerned citizen who had come into contact with a man believed to be Hirsch," she said.

Additional details will be provided as soon as they develop, Eimiller said.


(Updated at 5:39 p.m.): Reward money will be made available to anyone who provides information that leads to a conviction in connection with the synagogue blast, the Los Angeles Police Department said Monday.

Those with information are asked to call the FBI at 888-226-8443 (888-CANTHIDE), or 911.


(Updated at 5:01 p.m.): On Monday afternoon, the FBI released security-camera images of Hirsch disembarking from a Greyhound bus in Denver.

The images were taken on Friday at 8:19 p.m.

According to SMPD Sgt. Jay Trisler, there are no security-camera images showing him getting back on the bus.


The man linked to Thursday's explosion at the Chabad House Lubavitch of Santa Monica left Los Angeles via bus, authorities said Monday morning. According to video surveillance, he may have disembarked the bus in Denver.

Investigators said that, on the day of the incident, Ron Hirsch—using the name J. Fisher, one of his known aliases—bought a Greyhound ticket for a bus that was due to arrive in New York on Sunday. Authorities believe Hirsch, a transient, has family in the city.

The Greyhound bus was due to make at least 10 stops between Los Angeles and New York. One of the stops was in Denver.

"Additional investigation and video surveillance indicates that Hirsch disembarked the bus in Denver and may have further deviated from his original route," authorities said.

On Friday, the issued a bulletin indicating that items found in and around the crime scene linked Hirsch to the explosion. They called him "extremely dangerous."

Mirel Levitansky—who works at the Chabad House and is the wife of co-rabbi Eli Levitansky—told Santa Monica Patch that Hirsch had stopped by the synagogue "over the years," seeking handouts.

The FBI is not ruling out other possible suspects in the incident.

“We want to question him,” FBI Public Affairs Specialist Laura Eimiller told Patch. "But," she added, "it’s an open case."

Eimiller said authorities are continuing to look into Hirsch's background.

More on the synagogue blast:

FBI Not Ruling Out Other Suspects in Synagogue Blast

SMPD: Synagogue Bombing Suspect Still at Large

Synagogue Blast Was Probably Not a Terrorist Act, Anti-Defamation League Director Says

Cathie Lamm April 12, 2011 at 01:43 AM
Catch him! I know the authorities will catch him.
Eddie Greenberg April 12, 2011 at 03:00 PM
It is good that he is in custody. Chabad in Santa Monica has been here for some forty seven years without incident. Much thanks go to all participating police agencies, and to the FBI.


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