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US

Feds charge Jewish Center shootings suspect with killing postman

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chat iconMESSAGE BOARDS:
Mass shootings

InteractiveINTERACTIVE:
The hunt for the community center gunman

Gunfire shatters another U.S. community

 

August 19, 1999
Web posted at: 11:29 p.m. EDT (0329 GMT)


In this story:

Specific charges

Day of mayhem

Alleged gunman targeted Jews

Medication for mental condition

School and job history

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



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.

Specific charges

Furrow was indicted on three federal counts:

  • Murder of a federal employee, employee of the United States Postal Service, which carries a potential death sentence.
  • Use of a firearm during a crime of violence causing death, which also carries a potential death sentence.
  • Possessing a firearm in violation of his parole as a convicted felon. Furrow served five months for threatening two nurses at a psychiatric hospital with a knife.

    children
    Police lead children to safety after the shootings at the North Valley Jewish Community Center  

    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.



    RELATED STORIES:
    Transcripts of 911 calls from L.A. shooting released
    August 18, 1999
    Children and adults overcome fears at Los Angeles Jewish center
    August 16, 1999
    Postal worker Joseph Ileto mourned as President Clinton sends condolences
    August 15, 1999
    Security heightened at Jewish facilities across country
    August 13, 1999
    L.A. shooting suspect charged with hate crimes
    August 12, 1999
    Furrow had deep roots in hate groups
    August 12, 1999

    RELATED SITES:
    Temple Beth Torah of Granada Hills
    The Los Angeles Police Department
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
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