Hakey's profile pictures as included in the criminal complaint
The man who last month shot several high-power weapons at a mosque in Connecticut had 24 guns, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, and a Facebook account full of hateful comments about Muslims, according to a federal criminal complaint filed on Friday.
FBI agents arrested Ted Hakey early Friday in Meriden, Conn., in connection with the Nov. 13 shooting of the Baitul Aman mosque. Prosecutors charged the 48-year-old with a federal hate crime for intentionally damaging religious property and ordered him detained.
If convicted, Hakey could face as many as 20 years behind bars and a fine of up to $250,000.
The criminal complain filed in federal court in New Haven alleges that Hakey fired several rounds into the mosque on the evening of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Although nobody was injured, several of the rounds entered the walls and made their way to areas of the building used for prayer.
“This arrest should serve as a clear message that crimes of hate against individuals of any race, creed, gender or religious background will not be tolerated,” Patricia Ferrick, the special agent in charge of the FBI's New Haven division, said in a statement.
Jeffrey Cohen, Hakey's attorney, did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
Hakey first became a person of interest in the case after the FBI traced the trajectory of the bullets to his home, which is located directly across the street from the mosque.
Agents obtained a search warrant for the house, where they seized 24 guns, including several high-power rifles consistent with the bullets found in the mosque.
The FBI also found 1,000 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, and paraphernalia associated with the Hell's Angels, "a motorcycle club that is considered an outlaw motorcycle gang by the U.S. Department of Justice," according to the criminal complaint.
A few days after the seizure, court records show, Hakey and his attorney sat down for an interview with the FBI. During that conversation, Hakey admitted to shooting the rounds, but insisted that he had just been practicing his aim and wasn't trying to hit the mosque.
Hakey added that he had been drinking that night, that he had not heard of the Paris attacks at the time, and that he held no animosity against Muslims.
The FBI's review of Hakey's phone, however, painted a different picture.
In a text message sent the day after the terrorist attack against the navy base in Chatanooga, Tenn., for example, Hakey wrote that he wanted to "take the Jewzi" and "unload on Muslims," adding that he was "in a target rich environment."
Months later, federal prosecutors allege Hakey sent a text message in which he called President Obama "a nigger, fag, Muslim."
"The phone also contained an image of a bearded man with a rifle scope's crosshairs superimposed on the face and the text 'Fuck Islam' written on the bottom of the photo," the criminal complaint states.
According to court records, Hakey agreed to take a lie detector test for the FBI on Nov. 23. With his lawyers present, he admitted that he had in fact heard of the Paris attacks before he started drinking that evening. Hakey insisted, however, that he had not intended to hit the mosque when he shot his assault rifle in the direction of the building.
After the second interview, the FBI obtained a search warrant to examine Hakey's Facebook account and found that Hakey had posted several pictures of himself holding a high-power rifle — and that he had posted dozens of comments stating his hatred of Muslims.
"They will not care!" Hakey wrote in a comment on a friend's status, according to the criminal complaint. "These fucks will strap explosives onto their children. What might work is to desecrate the Muslim religion. Burn their local mosque to the ground, defile the land with pig blood. Put up billboards of Muhammad getting ass raped by Satan."
"The only solution," Hakey wrote on his page, "is to wipe Islam off the face of the earth!"
"When the white boys snap," he wrote in another status, "it's not going to be pretty."
In other Facebook status updates, Hakey expressed concern about the mosque next door.
The Baitul Aman mosque, which Hakey is alleged to have shot, is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a minority sect that has suffered widespread persecution in many parts of the world.
Public records show that Hakey has at times owed several tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and he has been charged several times with offenses related to reckless driving.
In his Facebook page and in his interviews with the FBI, Hakey said he is a former U.S. Marine, but a spokesperson for the naval infantry told BuzzFeed News his name did not immediately appear in the corps' database.
Read the FBI's affidavit on Hakey here.
Nicolás Medina Mora is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Nicolás Medina Mora at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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