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SHOOTING AT LAX

Friendly Offer of Ride to Airport Ends in Death

Shooting: Family man of Valley Village came to the U.S. 14 years ago and made his mark in the Jewish community with devotion and generosity.

July 05, 2002|SCOTT GLOVER and ANNA GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Jacob Aminov was a deeply religious man, a devoted father of eight and the kind of friend you could always count on, said those who knew him.

So it was not unusual that Aminov, who was also known as Yaakov, offered to drive a longtime friend to the airport Thursday, even on a day when many were worried and his family begged him not to go.

"His son was saying to him, 'Don't go. It's dangerous,' " said Aminov's brother-in-law, Mark Ezerzer.

Aminov, 46, a diamond importer who owned a jewelry distribution company in downtown Los Angeles, immigrated from Israel 14 years ago. He had taken his friend, who was traveling home to Israel, to the airport and was waiting in line at the El Al Israel Airlines ticket counter when he was shot. He was hit at least once in the chest and was in cardiac arrest when he arrived by ambulance at Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center just after noon, said Dr. Jean-Claude Henry.

Doctors worked on him for nearly an hour before declaring him dead, Henry said. Aminov's wife, Anat, who is pregnant, fainted when she learned that her husband had not survived his injuries.

"She was severely grieved," Henry said.

At Aminov's home in Valley Village, just hours later, friends, neighbors and relatives filled the living room and spilled into the frontyard. They described him as honest, spiritual and soft-spoken.

"He would not speak one word unnecessarily," said friend Nir Yacoby, who added that Aminov was "always smiling."

Aminov worked hard at his job. But his true devotion, said his friends, was to his family. He and his wife were expecting their sixth child. Aminov is also the father of three other children from a previous marriage.

"Family was his main focus, and not just his own children, but the extended family as well," said Rabbi Aron Tendler, who has known the Aminov family for many years.

Aminov was also the founding member of Yad Avraham, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in North Hollywood, Tendler said. He also frequently was host to religious seminars at his home. Aminov prayed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.

"The family was very generous," Tendler said. "They were not a wealthy family. But he and his wife really made their home a center."

Jack Katash, 52, attended synagogue with Aminov. He said Aminov gave money to the poor and donated his time to the congregation.

"He was generous in every way--you name it," Katash said. "He's one of the best."

Aminov was introduced to his wife through a rabbi and the two were married more than 10 years ago, said Mike Bachar, who is Anat Aminov's brother.

Bachar said his 38-year-old sister, who sells hats out of her home, was in shock Thursday evening.

"She doesn't know how she is going to start her life again," he said. "She was leaning on him."

Late Thursday, relatives told Aminov's children about their father's death. "They didn't understand it," Bachar said. "They had no idea."

The family planned to bury Aminov in Israel, where much of his extended family still lives.

Tendler said, "When God takes a good one, that makes it all the more painful."

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