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Two shot at California synagogue

(JTA) — Two people were shot in the legs in the parking lot of a synagogue in North Hollywood, Calif.

Los Angeles Police said the African-American suspect approached a man entering the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Synagogue for morning prayers at approximately 6:20 a.m. Thursday, according to media reports. The assailant shot the man in the leg with a handgun, then fired again and hit another man.

The synagogue is located in the San Fernando Valley’s Orthodox community.

Police initially said they were investigating the incident as a hate crime, and the Los Angeles Police Department has stepped up patrols around city Jewish institutions. But law enforcmenet sources have told the Los Angeles Times that they are investigating the possibility that the attack was related to a business or personal dispute, with one victim the target and the other shot because he witnessed the attack.

A man was detained near the facility shortly after the shooting, but police have released him.

The victims, both Jewish, were reported to be in good condition after being transported to a local hospital. One was identified as Maor Ben-Nissan, 37, who owns a tile store and prays at the synagogue every morning. He immigrated to the U.S. from Israel as a child.

The Secure Community Network, the national network coordinating security for the Jewish community, said it was urging Jewish institutions to remain vigilant and revisit the security procedures they have in place until more information about the incident is known.