Police say the man broke into the home shouting hateful comments about Israel and Jews.
STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Police have launched a hate crime investigation after a man broke into a Studio City home Wednesday morning, shouting hateful comments about Israel and Jews.
It happened around 5:30 a.m. at the home on Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Dona Sarita Place. The suspect, who has been identified as Daniel Garcia, broke into home of the Meyers family wearing only his boxers and began yelling hateful language, the family said.
Homeowner Mendel Meyers recalls the exact moment it all unfolded.
"He broke the door to the house, and I jumped to the door, I pushed him out of my house outside," he said. "First, he started to scream, 'Free Palestine. Israeli kill people. We need to kill the Israeli people,' and I started to scream, 'I'm going to shoot you,' and he [got] scared. He thought I was going to shoot him, and he ran to the corner of the house."
That's when the Meyers family, who have four children and are expecting their fifth in two weeks, huddled together inside their home and called 911. Los Angeles police officers quickly swarmed the home and arrested Garcia, who reportedly was on drugs.
No injuries were reported.
"Garcia, possibly suffering from mental illness, acted alone and his actions appeared motivated by the victims' religious beliefs," said police in a statement.
"Scary. My wife and the kids got a little bit of trauma because of it. I thought maybe in the street, I'm going to see protests. People scream, but I never thought he was going to come to my house," said Mendel. "Inside to my house. He broke inside to the door."
Mendel said Garcia came to his home a year ago asking for water. He said once Garcia recognized an Israeli accent, he launched into another antisemitic tirade and left. Mendel isn't sure whether the war in Israel motivated him to come back to his home.
"I don't know how he knew that they were Israeli, but that's just tremendously alarming," said Studio City resident Kathleen Wood. "Obviously, people are going to be worried about this. It's going to be bad, I think, the reaction, but I don't think this is part of a pattern, and it just sounded to me like he knew them and knew who they were to begin with. It doesn't sound like a random burglary to me."
In a statement, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass released a statement Wednesday, calling the incident a "vile act of hate."
"The vile act of hate that took place this morning has no place in our City. In the wake of the terror and violence inflicted over the previous weeks, this is one of the worst fears of Jewish families across our country - hatred spilling across the threshold, destroying the sense of safety and sanctuary in a home.
"We remain steadfast in support of the Jewish people - the people of Los Angeles will not cower to hate. We will respond to it. The Los Angeles Police Department will continue to conduct increased patrols in communities throughout our City and I call on officials to take action to ensure the person responsible for this heinous act is held fully accountable.
"We will always stand together."
Garcia was booked into the Van Nuys Jail for stalking and criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement. His bail is set at $225,000.
Anyone with information is urged to contact North Hollywood Detectives at 818-754-8301.