Youth Club Shooter Suspect Indicted in Tel Aviv
The main suspect in a 2009 Tel Aviv youth bar shooting spree that left two dead and 10 wounded, including several with permanent injuries, was indicted Monday in Tel Aviv District Court.
Hagai Felician, 23, was charged on two counts of murder and 10 counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting at the Bar Noar club, a center for homosexual youth.
The Bnei Brak resident was accused of attempting to “intentionally cause the death of the [center’s] visitors,” according to court documents.
According to the indictment, Felician “fired at the people in the center with intent to indiscriminately kill anyone caught in the line of fire. He then went into side rooms looking for other victims and fired at them with intent to kill. The defendant left the scene only after he ran out of ammunition.”
Nir Katz, 26 and Liz Turbeshi, 16, both died in the shooting.
The club was formerly managed by Shaul Ganon, 49, accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old relative of Felician at the time.
It was Ganon’s alleged rape of the minor, who cannot be named due to his age, that police say motivated Felician in his alleged shooting spree. Ganon was granted immunity in exchange for becoming a state witness, but temporarily ran away from his central Tel Aviv police hideout because he “couldn’t stand the pressure.” He was caught a few days later.
A third person, Tarlan Hankishayev, is also a suspect named in the shooting.
A relative of Hankishayev in jail for a violent offense finally gave police the lead they needed to break the case when he identified those involved in the shooting. He was kept in a ‘safe house’ by detectives and also given immunity in exchange for his testimony against the suspects.
The State Prosecutor’s Office has filed a motion to remand Felician until the conclusion of all legal proceedings.
The case sparked acrimony against Israel’s hareidi-religious community, which was accused by some as having inspired the crime. Some openly speculated that the shooter was a hareidi-religious Jew carrying out an anti-homosexual hate crime.
Former Interior Minister and Shas chairman MK Eli Yishai said last month that elected officials and human rights groups should apologize for blaming him for the 2009 murders at the Bar Noar club.
“”Immediately after the murders... and before an investigation and even begun, people began to hold up signs against me and against the hareidi and religious sectors as being somehow to blame for the murders,” Yishai reminded. He called for “soul searching” following the “unbearable ease” with which “an entire sector is besmirched, despite its innocence.”