L.A. Jewish community takes security steps after latest scare

- Nearly one week after the Pittsburgh mass shooting, the Jewish community in L.A. was confronted with another potential scare.

In just the last few days, security volunteers became concerned with a man they say exhibited strange behavior and kept approaching various L.A. synagogues.

"He asked to speak to the Chief Rabbi- that's a weird thing to ask, maybe in England but here we don't use that. The Rabbi talked to him for a little bit, felt very uneasy, felt he was more interested in looking around than having a conversation," said David Bacall, the West Coast Operations Director for Community Security Service.

The man went to Young Israel and Etz Jacob in Los Angeles and Beth Jacob in Beverly Hills.

Synagogue security members notified LAPD, who say he is currently on probation for residential burglary and has a previous conviction for a machete related offense involving family violence

"He had a cold emotionless look. He had inconsistencies with his story," said Bacall. 

LAPD sent out a crime alert to the community and identified him as Yeshua Ben Elohim but after speaking to him, say he didn't do anything to warrant an arrest.

"There was no crime associated with his behavior. There was some mental health issues and right now services are being provided to that individual," said LAPD commander Robert Marino.

But community members are still on high alert.

Coming to this meeting is kind of like déjà vu because every time there's an incident there feels like we have to go on high alert, and I think what we've learned is this is a way of life," said Sheryl Goldman.
 
On Friday afternoon, an LAPD mobile command post stationed outside the Young Israel of Century City reminding congregants they have their support.

Inside, there were nearly 100 worshipers. They were not there to pray...but to plan on how to stay safe.

"You're going to see an increased presence within your communities within your synagogues at your schools where there will be officers present," said Marino.

Marino and other LAPD officials, along with Councilmember Paul Koretz assured the community they had their support....but they also encouraged their involvement.

"If you suspect a neighbor or someone is acting strange, tell us. If you see something on social media, tell us. Call your local police officers, tell your senior lead officer....because there are incidents that happened in the last 24 hours that we acted on," said Marino.
 

 

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories