A man has been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon in connection to an altercation earlier this week that Los Angeles police are investigating as a possible anti-Semitic hate crime.
In a news release Saturday, the Los Angeles Police Department described the man as “one of the primary suspects in the assault and beating of several men” outside a restaurant on Tuesday evening.
Police said they arrested the man Friday night with the help of the US Marshal Service, thanks to tips from the public that helped identify the suspect. He was arrested outside the city without incident, the release added.
Police have asked for the suspect’s bail to be enhanced “due to the crime being motivated by hatred,” the release said, and when the case is presented to the District Attorney’s Office, LAPD detectives will seek additional hate crime charges.
CNN previously reported officers had responded Tuesday night to an altercation outside a sushi restaurant, where five victims had suffered minor injuries, according to LAPD spokesperson Jeff Lee.
One of the diners who said he was involved in the altercation told CNN affiliate KABC he was eating outside the restaurant with four friends who are Jewish when a group of men stopped their car and started yelling.
The man said a group of men who appeared to be pro-Palestinian exited their vehicle and began attacking his friends and he attempted to fight back.
Video obtained by CNN showed a number of cars driving past the restaurant that appeared to match the description provided by police with passengers waving Palestinian flags and exchanging anti-Israel slogans and swear words with people outside the restaurant.
A woman who said she was dining at the restaurant told CNN that the people in the cars began throwing bottles at them and yelled anti-Semitic slurs, including the words “dirty Jew.”
“We watched from the window as the guys sitting at the table next to us got beat up while they (the aggressors) were asking ‘who’s Jewish’ and screaming ‘dirty Jew’ and ‘Israel kills children’ and ‘death to Israel,'” she said.
The incident was one of several reported across the US this week as tensions flared over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid violence between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza. On Thursday, Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza agreed to a ceasefire, after more than a week of conflict left hundreds dead, most of them Palestinians.
Local leaders condemned the attack in Los Angeles this week, with Mayor Eric Garcetti writing on Twitter, “Jewish Angelenos, like all residents, should always feel safe in our city,” and that the officials would “respond with the full force of the law.”