Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with the confirmation that the man arrested in Cleveland was Hirsch. To read that update, click HERE
An individual believed to be Ron Hirsch, the man wanted in connection with the April 7 explosion in Santa Monica, was taken into custody in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, on the evening of April 11. The individual in custody was arrested following a call to law enforcement officials by a concerned citizen who had come into contact with man believed to be Hirsch.
Hirsch, a transient who also goes by Israel Fisher, is wanted by officials investigating the explosion last week that blasted a four-foot long, 300-pound steel pipe, 25 feet into the air before crashing through the roof of a residence located next to the Chabad House Lubavitch of Santa Monica, a Jewish synagogue located at 1428 17th Street. The blast also reportedly blew out windows of the Jewish school and place of worship. Police evacuated a four-block area following the explosion.
After the initial field assessment, authorities cultivated evidence indicating that the device that caused the blast appeared to have been deliberately constructed. Investigators further determined that items found in and around the crime scene are linked to Hirsch, who was already being sought on state charges of possession of a destructive device and unrelated local charges.
Investigators believe Hirsch boarded a Greyhound bus on the day of the incident, based on records that a man known as J. Fisher, a known alias used by suspect, purchased a ticket to New York that was originally scheduled to arrive Sunday, April 10. There are at least ten destinations between Los Angeles and New York, but video surveillance indicates that Hirsch disembarked the bus in Denver and may have further deviated from his original route. Hirsch is believed to have family in New York.
Santa Monica Police Sgt. Jay Trisler said that no known motive has been yet determined. Whether Hirsch was targeting the Chabad House Lubavitch remains to be seen.
“No known motive for a deliberate attack is known at this time,” said Trisler in an earlier statement. “A joint investigation by the Santa Monica Police Department, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Santa Monica Fire Department is ongoing.”
Trisler said the Santa Monica Police Department expects to know whether the man arrested in Ohio is in fact Hirsch sometime in the morning of April 12. This is a continuing investigation and additional details will be provided as they develop.
Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact the authorities. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call WeTip at 1.800.782.7463, or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com. You will remain completely anonymous and may be eligible for a reward, up to $1,000.00, if your information leads to an arrest and conviction.
Or, anonymous tipsters can contact Crime Stoppers by either calling 800.222.8477 or by visiting their website at www.lacrimestoppers.org. To text an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers, please view their webpage for detailed instructions. If the information leads to an arrest, the tipster is eligible to receive a reward up to $1, 000.