Mental status of driver who tried to run down 2 Jews outside LA synagogue questioned

JTA

(JTA) — Criminal proceedings against a Seattle man who was charged with a hate crime for allegedly attempting to run over two people outside of a Los Angeles synagogue has been suspended.

Mohamed Abdi Mohamed, 32, a Somalia native who reportedly is a U.S. citizen, was charged last week with two felony counts and a hate crime. He pleaded not guilty and is being held on $55,000 bail.

On Friday his public defender raised questions about his mental competency, the Los Angeles Times reported. A mental competency hearing was scheduled for Dec. 14, according to the report.

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Mohamed was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2015 and has been treated at mental health facilities in the Seattle area at least twice in recent years, the Times reported, citing medical records seen by reporters.

He reportedly had been in the Los Angeles area for just a few days before the Nov. 23 attack. It is believed that he acted alone and was not connected to a terror group.

A security camera video shows Mohamed trying to run down the two men, ages 37 and 57, leaving the Bais Yehuda Shul, and then reversing and trying to hit them again. The victims wore clothing typically worn by Orthodox Jews on Shabbat. The driver also reportedly shouted anti-Semitic epithets at them. He was stopped when his car ran a stop sign and slammed into another vehicle.

If convicted, Mohamed faces a maximum sentence of eight years and eight months in state prison.

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