Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief backed away from comments published in an Israeli newspaper last week indicating that be believed the North Hollywood synagogue shooting Oct. 30 was “a stern warning linked to a criminal organization.”

Two men were wounded in the attack that he described to the Jerusalem Post as a “a targeted, surgical strike” in which “the two victims had been kneecapped.”

But Downing later told KFI AM talk radio that his comments about the attack were taken out of context. The onetime interim chief of the department was in Tel Aviv to attend a Safe City Solutions Conference. The Post quoted him as saying Israeli organized crime was on the rise in Los Angeles, and the synagogue attack was used as an example.

In the report, Downing called Israeli mob crime “a little bit worse” lately, and pointed out that such organized crime rings were involved in real estate fraud, money laundering and narcotics trade.

The North Hollywood shooting sent shivers through L.A.'s Jewish community: Synagogues were put on alert as authorities investigated and then dismissed a possible hate-crime angle.

Downing told KFI the attack “appeared to be a targeted shooting, but I have no evidence to say it's related to organized crime.”

Got a news tip? Email us

LA Weekly