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Prosecutors decline to file case against L.A. synagogue security guard in shooting of YouTube personality

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County prosecutors declined Wednesday to file an assault case against a Fairfax-district synagogue security guard who fired a shot into the ground that ricocheted, leaving a YouTube personality with a thigh wound.

In a two-page charge evaluation worksheet, prosecutors wrote that they lacked “sufficient proof” to demonstrate that Edduin Zelayagrunfeld, 44, used an unreasonable level of force under the circumstances.

The security guard — who works for Ohel Chana High School and Etz Jacob — confronted Zhoie Perez and told her to leave as she loitered near the building Feb. 14, according to the document from the District Attorney’s Office. Perez was carrying a small hand-held camera rig and dressed entirely in black with a backpack secured to her body in a harness while school was in session, prompting a lockdown of the school, according to the document.

The guard subsequently fired a warning shot at the ground that ricocheted, with either a fragment of the bullet or concrete striking the YouTube personality known as “Fuzzy Potato” in the middle of a thigh and causing a “minor injury,” according to the document.

The document notes that the guard’s “perception of Perez’s behavior as dangerous was reasonable” in the wake of a series of mass shootings and increased anti-Semitic violence, and that the YouTuber’s “purposeful silence amplified those fears.”

Zelayagrunfeld was arrested that day by the Los Angeles Police Department, and released on bond the following day, according to jail records.

Perez had been filming the guard during what she called a “First Amendment audit,” the Washington Post reported at the time.

An attorney for Perez on Wednesday announced the filing of a lawsuit against the security guard and his employers, alleging they violated Perez’s “civil right to exist on a public sidewalk as a transgender woman” and to engage in “free speech without being subjected to deadly force.”

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