(FOX 11) - Two men barely escaped with their lives last Friday when a suspect drove his car straight at them outside a synagogue. Now, police are charging that driver with a hate crime.
Four weeks after the deadly massacre against a Jewish community in Pittsburgh, a man has attempted to allegedly attack members of a synagogue here in Los Angeles, leaving a community rattled.
A man - who didn't want to be identified - says he walked out of Congregation Bais Yehuda in Fairfax Friday night with his friend. That's when he says a driver - who police identified today as U.S. citizen Mohamed Mohamed -- started screaming Jewish slurs
He then drove away, but seconds later, you can see him on surveillance tape making a sharp u-turn.
"And came at a diagonal pace right at us, going really really fast. The reason we knew he was coming at us is because when he did the U-turn, he was burning rubber, so it additionally caught our attention," said the victim.
Police say Mohamed came at the men as they crossed the street.
"He came within inches or feet from us and we both scrambled in different directions. He backed up and tried hitting me while my friend ran into the synagogue," said the victim.
After driving off this surveillance video captures Mohamed crashing into another car blocks away. You can see people inside the car trying to get out.
The man from the synagogue ran over and says Mohamad tried escaping.
"The car was completely disabled and he kept on trying to make it work," said the victim..
Moments later, police arrive, taking Mohamed into custody.
He was later charged with assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime.
LAPD's chief says it's an arrest that's part of a growing problem
"Hate in America is on the rise. That has to change," said LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore.
Police believe Mohamed is from Washington State.
They say he drove down to L.A. just a few days ago.
It's still unclear why they haven't found any family here.