Feds charge Jewish Center shootings suspect with killing postman
August 19, 1999
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Buford O. Furrow Jr., the accused shooter in an attack that wounded five people at a Los Angeles area Jewish Community Center, was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on charges of murder and firearms violations in the killing of a mail carrier an hour later.
The grand jury action in the death of Joseph Santos Ileto, gunned down while delivering the mail eight miles away from the Jewish center, was jointly announced by U.S. Attorney Alejandro Mayorkas and Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti.
Garcetti's office already has issued a criminal complaint charging the 37-year-old avowed white supremacist with attempted murder in the same case, attempted murder in the Jewish center case and carjacking.
Furrow remains in federal custody without bond at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles. A previously scheduled appearance in U.S. District Court is set for August 30 at 9 a.m. PDT for a post-indictment arraignment.
According to Mayorkas and Garcetti, the case against Furrow in federal court will proceed first. The state charges against Furrow are pending.
Furrow was indicted on three federal counts:
Day of mayhem
The shooting rampage at the North Valley Jewish Community Center and day camp occurred the morning of August 10. Three of the victims were young children, including a 5-year-old boy upgraded to fair condition Tuesday with multiple gunshot wounds.
Furrow then allegedly carjacked a Toyota Corolla belonging to a waitress and while driving around allegedly killed Ileto, a Filipino-born postman. State officials said the shooting of Ileto was a hate crime inspired by the victim's race or nationality.
The gunman eluded a massive dragnet in Los Angeles, abandoned the stolen car and took a taxi to Las Vegas -- an $800 trip -- where he turned himself in to the FBI the next day.
Authorities say Furrow admitted shooting Ileto, but he has not issued a plea on any of the charges against him.
Alleged gunman targeted Jews
Furrow said he wanted the community center attack to be "a wake-up call to America to kill Jews," an FBI source has said previously
Furrow had reportedly scouted several prominent Jewish institutions before stumbling on the community center.
According to the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, authorities found a map with circles around the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the University of Judaism and the Skirball Cultural Center.
"We were told by the FBI that we had been a prime target for this attack," Rabbi Marvin Hier has said.
Medication for mental condition
Furrow had been on probation from an assault conviction in Seattle for threatening two nurses last October with a knife at the Fairfax Psychiatric Hospital, where he had committed himself.
After that incident, he told the King County Sheriff's Department, according to court documents, "Sometimes I feel like I could just lose it and kill people."
Dan Donohoe, of the King County prosecutor's office in Seattle, said the court ordered Furrow not "to stop taking medications, and the medication was for treating his mental condition."
School and job history
Furrow is the only child of an Air Force veteran father who served in Vietnam and worked in the Civil Service before his retirement, and a mother who kept house, according to a neighbor and former classmate of Furrow in Olympia, Washington, Loni Merrill.
Furrow attended several community colleges after high school -- Centralia College, Lower Columbia College, Pierce Community College and Western Washington University in Bellingham, about 90 miles north of Seattle, where he attended from 1984 to 1986.
Furrow graduated from Western Washington with a degree in manufacturing engineering technology. But his career there was so unremarkable that his faculty adviser did not even remember his name when he saw it in the news, a spokeswoman said.
He worked a clerical job at the Boeing Corp. in the Seattle area from 1987 to 1990 in a career that was highlighted by "nothing remarkable," Boeing spokesman Dave Suffia said. He said Furrow did not work on any of Boeing's defense projects.
Transcripts of 911 calls from L.A. shooting released
Temple Beth Torah of Granada Hills
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