Suspect arrested in North Hollywood synagogue shooting

Police arrested a suspect Thursday in a shooting at a North Hollywood synagogue last year that left two people wounded.

Christopher Littlejohn, 37, was initially arrested by SWAT officers in a separate assault case in Beverly Hills on July 23 in which he pointed a gun at a person in a residential neighborhood, Beverly Hills Police Sgt. Shan Davis said.

LAPD Lt. John Romero said Littlejohn, of Northridge, was later arrested and booked on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the Oct. 29 shooting in North Hollywood and is being held in lieu of $2-million bail.

Littlejohn is believed to have shot two congregants in the underground garage of Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Synagogue. The wounded men were Maor Ben-Nissan, 37, and Allen Lasry, 38, who were both struck in the leg.

Although there was initial concern that the shooting was a hate crime, police quickly ruled that out.

Sources familiar with the case said Ben-Nissan was generally uncooperative with investigators, who began to suspect that he was the target of the attack. The sources said they believe he may have unwittingly had business dealings with men connected to organized crime.

Investigators deduced that Lasry just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, according to sources familiar with investigation.

Such non-fatal shootings have been part of the Israeli crime scene for some time, sources said. A similar shooting occurred a year ago in another part of the San Fernando Valley, where a man was shot in the leg.

The shootings occurred about 6:20 a.m. while morning services were underway at the synagogue, a small congregation on a quiet residential street. A security camera captured images of the hooded assailant before he fled the scene.

Last year on a visit to Israel, LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing said the attack was being investigated as an organized crime-related incident.

“The two victims had been kneecapped,” he said during a police conference covered by the Israeli media. “They were targeted as part of a stern warning linked to a criminal organization.”