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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

Hate-Fueled Fury

The 19-year-old nursing student spent several weeks planning his attack. Armed with an assault rifle, extra magazines strapped to his chest, he entered a synagogue and opened fire.

He killed one person in the attack and injured three others. There may have been more victims, but the shooter’s gun jammed. When this happened, several congregant members gave chase. He fled in his vehicle.

After fleeing the crime scene, the young man called 911 and identified himself as the shooter, claiming he was defending his nation from Jewish people who are destroying the white race. Hard words to hear anyone say. During the phone conversation, he stated his willingness to surrender.

During the search of his home, the authorities found a manifesto filled with anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim statements, and referred to Jewish as a race. Also in his manifesto, he confessed to previously setting fire to a mosque. #hatecrime

The investigators learned the shooter had displayed questionable behavior at the college he attended—sharing white supremist material and had a copy of another mosque shooter’s manifesto. Classmates reported the behavior. Although his behavior was distasteful to those around him, his beliefs alone weren’t illegal or punishable by the college.

The Attorney General said regarding this case,

“All people in this country should be able to freely exercise their religion without fear of being attacked.”

The shooter pleaded guilty to 113 counts in total for violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, violating the Church Arson Prevention Act, and firearms offenses. A judge sentenced him to life in prison plus 30 years.

An Assistant Attorney General with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, shared this about the case,

“Hate has no place in our society and bias-motivated violence will not be tolerated.”

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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