A man accused of a hate crime attack after allegedly trying to run over two Jewish men outside a synagogue in Hancock Park last year is now facing attempted murder charges, officials announced Thursday.
Mohamed Abdi Mohamed, 33, of Seattle, had previously pleaded not guilty to assault with a deadly weapon charges as well as the hate crime allegation.
On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon after they were added to the criminal complaint against him, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
Mohamed allegedly yelled racial epithets at the men as they left Congregation Bais Yehuda on 360 N. La Brea Ave. Nov. 23. Mohamed then tried to hit the two men with his car as they were walking on a sidewalk, prosecutors allege. He then tried to get away, but ended up hitting another vehicle and was ultimately arrested.
Relatives said Mohamed harbors no ill-will toward the Jewish community, according to the Los Angeles Times. One relative told the newspaper that Mohamed is a U.S. citizen who came to the United States as a refugee in the early 90s after fleeing a civil war in his country.
Mohamed had been suffering from schizophrenia since 2015, the newspaper reported, citing medical records. Despite his history of mental illness, he has been ordered to stand trial.
Mohamed faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is charged. The case continues to be investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.
More clarity on the charges from NBC Los Angeles:
Los Angeles County prosecutors filed two new attempted murder charges this week against a Seattle resident who allegedly tried to run over two men last November outside a synagogue in a Jewish neighborhood in the Wilshire area while yelling anti-Semitic remarks.