A 60-year-old homeless man has been indicted on four federal charges for allegedly detonating an explosive device outside the Chabad House in Santa Monica last month.
Ron Hirsch, who has also used the names “Ronald Jay Fisher” and “Israel Fisher,” was indicted by a federal grand jury May 3 on charges including use of an explosive to damage property, use of an explosive to commit a federal felony, use of a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence, and possession of an unregistered destructive device, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
If convicted, Hirsch could face up to 70 years in prison, Mrozek said. Hirsch, who remains in federal custody in Los Angeles, is scheduled to be arraigned in United States District Court Monday, May 23.
Hirsch is accused of detonating a 300-pound destructive device outside the Chabad House, damaging a portion of the synagogue wall and the roof of a nearby home where residents were sleeping April 7, authorities said. No one was injured in the blast.
After fleeing Los Angeles on a bus and being the subject of a nationwide manhunt, Hirsch was taken into custody in Cleveland on April 11. The U.S. Marshals Service returned him to Southern California on April 22, and a United States Magistrate ordered him held without bond.
The ongoing investigation is being handled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Santa Monica Police Department.
“ATF has utilized the knowledge and experience garnered in explosives incidents over the last 30 years to provide the evidence used by a grand jury to issue the indictment,” said John A. Torres, special agent in charge of the ATF Field Office in Los Angeles. “Our main goals are to ensure public safety and to address the concerns of the local community, both of which have been met in the case against Mr. Hirsch.”
Several agencies have assisted in the investigation, including the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Monica Fire Department and the Cleveland Heights (Ohio) Police Department.
In addition to charges contained in the grand jury indictment, Hirsch faces felony charges brought by the Los Angeles County District Attorney last month, Mrozek said.