Skip to main content

Police identify suspect in California synagogue bombing

By Michael Martinez, CNN
Click to play
Police ID synagogue bombing suspect
  • Suspect is a transient who is extremely dangerous, police say
  • The bombing occurs at a synagogue in Santa Monica, California
  • The blast did not injure anyone but damages the synagogue
  • California

Read more about this story from CNN affiliate KABC.

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Police in Santa Monica, California, were searching Saturday for an "extremely dangerous" 61-year-old man in connection with a bombing at a synagogue.

Authorities began their investigation Thursday after the blast at Chabad House.

Investigators initially called the explosion an accident, but on Friday, they determined foul play was involved in the explosion, police said.

Police spokesman Sgt. Jay Trisler told CNN on Saturday that authorities were still searching for Ron Hirsch, 61, in connection with Thursday's bombing.

Investigators began searching for Hirsch after finding evidence at the damaged synagogue, the Santa Monica police said in a statement.

"Investigation has determined that items found in and around the mechanism are linked to an individual by the name of Ron Hirsch, identified as a transient," a police statement said. "Hirsch is known to frequent synagogues and Jewish community centers seeking charity from patrons. Hirsch is considered extremely dangerous."

The explosion shattered windows at the synagogue and sent a 30-pound pipe into the roof of an adjacent house but no one was injured, CNN affiliate KABC reported.

Authorities do not know the motive for the bombing. Hirsch also faces charges of possession of a destructive device, police said.

Authorities reversed their initial determination Thursday that the explosion was the result of an industrial accident involving cement and other materials, Santa Monica police said.

Further investigation by bomb technicians unearthed a large portion of the cement found at the scene and uncovered materials indicating the device appeared to have been deliberately constructed, police said.

Santa Monica is a coastal city adjacent to Los Angeles.

CNN's Rosalina Nieves contributed to this report