Buford O’Neal Furrow Jr., who stormed a JCC in the Los Angeles suburb of Granada Hills a decade ago, has now apologized, and claims he’s broken with his white supremacist past. In a letter responding to a request for an interview from the Los Angeles Daily News, Furrow, who is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole, wrote that he has thrown away his “racist books, literature, etc.” At the time of the shootings, he insisted that the attack—in which he wounded five people, including three children, and killed a Filipino postal worker—was intended as “a wakeup call to America to kill Jews.” Today, Furrow, an Olympia, Washington, native who had a long involvement with the Aryan Nation extremist group, claims “a life based on hate is no life at all.” “I now publicly renounce all bias toward anyone based on race, creed, color, sexual orientation and am a much happier person,” he wrote.
Which is nice for him, but maybe not enough for the victims. One refused to be interviewed by the paper, and the father of Josh Stepakoff, then a 6-year-old camper who was shot in the thigh and back, said he didn’t think the apology was sincere. “This doesn’t change what he did,” Alan Stepakoff said. Relatives of the postal worker, Joseph Ileto, agreed, but were more magnanimous. “It still hurts that our brother and son was taken from us, and a letter won’t make up for that,” Ismael Ileto told the paper. But, he added, “It gives us some type of hope that people are able to rehabilitate themselves.”
Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.