DA: Suspect deliberately drove to LA to commit anti-Semitic assault

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A man accused of yelling anti-Semitic slurs and trying to run over two people near a Hancock Park synagogue deliberately drove to Los Angeles from Seattle with the intent of committing a hate crime, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Mohamed Abdi Mohamed entered a not-guilty plea through his public defender to hate crime and assault charges in a downtown L.A. courtroom.

He was ordered held on $500,000 bail.

Mohamed is a U.S. citizen who arrived as a refugee from Somalia years ago, according to the District Attorney's Office. He was living in the Seattle area and working as a Lyft driver.

The prosecutor said Mohamed rented a car in Seattle on Friday and drove to Los Angeles with the intent of committing a hate crime.

Police say Mohamed attempted to run over two people as they were leaving a synagogue Friday. He missed, turned around and tried to hit them again, once again missing, according to witnesses. He then fled the scene and crashed into a car nearby.

Police say he was heard making anti-Semitic remarks after the crash.

He is facing two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, his vehicle, with a hate crime enhancement.

Bail was initially set at $55,000, but the prosecution argued he represented a flight risk, referring to organizations that might be willing to help him out by posting his bail.

The judge agreed to increase his bail to $500,000.

Mohamed's public defender entered the not-guilty plea on his behalf and argued there was no evidence he posed a flight risk. Another hearing has been set for Friday after his attorney requested a bail review.
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