Ted Hakey Jr., 48, of Meriden, Connecticut, was arrested and charged on a federal criminal complaint Dec. 17, with intentionally damaging religious property a little more than a month after he shot up the Baitul Aman Mosque in the townNov. 14. This was the first Ahmaddiya mosque founded in Connecticut in 2007.
According to the criminal complaint, Hakey, who lives next door to the mosque, is alleged to have used his high powered rifle to discharge several rounds at the Mosque. Four bullets hit the mosque, with three penetrating the building.
No one was inside the mosque at the time of the shooting and no one was injured during the incident. He committed the act in the early morning hours of November 14, shortly after learning of the terrorist attacks in Paris, the complaint says. Members of the congregation found the bullet holes in the wall on Nov. 15, when they returned to pray at the mosque on Sundayevening, the Courant reported.
The charge of intentionally damaging religious property through use of a dangerous weapon carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
“All citizens of this earth should be free to worship without fear of violence,” U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly is quoted saying a the press release, adding, “We stand ready to prosecute individuals when rhetoric crosses the line to threats of violence or—as charged here—actual violence.”
Since the shooting, the mosque has held several interfaith meetings and prayers for victims of the Nov. 13 shootings in Paris and the Dec. 2, massacre in San Bernadino, California The Governor of Connecticut Dannel P. Malloy has visited the mosque to reassure followers. “Right-thinking Americans don’t support this kind of behavior,” he is quoted saying in the Courant report. He also noted that Ahmaddiyas, who belong to an Islamic sect founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in India in 1889, were persecuted in other Muslim countries.
Regional Imam Hamid Malik said his father’s cousin was among some 90 people killed in an attack on an Ahmadi mosque in Pakistan in 2010. Mohammed Qureshi, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Connecticut, thanked local police for their prompt response and speedy investigation into the shooting, the Courant reported.