By Aneesah Akbar and Chelsea Pan
A 26-year-old man was arrested and charged with felony hate crimes on April 17 for allegedly possessing a “kill list” of prominent Jewish community members. On the list, Irvine resident Nicholas Rose included instructions for “Killing My First Jew.” Rose is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, though his place of employment is unknown.
A search of Rose’s home on April 17 turned up .22 caliber ammunition and anti-Semitic literature and papers referencing Irvine synagogue Beth Jacobs Congregation, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, as well as St. Barbara Russian Orthodox Church in Lake Forest.
According to the Los Angeles Times, one of Rose’s family members notified the Orange Police Department after Rose made “violent threats” to the Jewish community. He was charged with three felony counts of attempted criminal threats and three misdemeanor counts of violating civil rights. His sentence was further enhanced with additional charge for three hate crimes.
After being held on $500,000 bail for nearly two weeks, Rose’s pre-trial court hearing was scheduled for April 27 in Santa Ana. According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office (OCDA), he will face six years and six months in prison if convicted.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jeff Moore, case prosecutor, reported that investigators are going through Rose’s phone and computer records to determine if he was part of any hate group. He described the writings as “rambling and confusing” to the Orange County Register.
“From his writings, it’s hard to tell exactly what direction he’s going in or who he was angry with,” Moore said to the Register. “He was apparently displeased with some churches that he thought were sympathetic to the Jewish cause.” Moore also acknowledged that it is still unclear whether Rose intended to carry out his threats.
While the names of the individuals included in the kill list were not made public, police revealed that those targeted have been notified. Irvine police are increasing security around religious centers mentioned in Rose’s papers.
For residents of Irvine, a city well-known for being one of the safest cities in the country, the news was unsettling. Rose’s neighbor Laura Wichems expressed her disbelief at the unanticipated arrest.
“[I have] so many friends who are Jewish and who go to synagogues in Orange County [and] Huntington Beach,” said Wichems to CBS Los Angeles. “It’s really scary to think that there’s someone with that kind of hate in their heart.”
One of the synagogues Rose threatened, Beth Jacobs Congregation, is just two miles away from UCI’s main campus. However, students seem to be uninformed about the incident. An anonymous UCI first year student commented, “I am shocked that this is happening, and I didn’t even realize it. I wish there was more transparency with these types of issues.”