Utah Man Indicted on Federal Hate Crime and Gun Charges Related to Religious-Motivated Attack on Synogogue
The Department of Justice announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Salt Lake City returned a superseding indictment charging Macon Openshaw, 21, of Salt Lake City, on gun possession charges and a federal hate crime charge relating to a bias-motivated attack at a local synagogue.
The indictment alleges that between Jan. 1, 2012 and April 30, 2012, Openshaw intentionally defaced and damaged the Congregation Kol Ami synagogue in Salt Lake City by firing several rounds from a Walther .22 caliber handgun at the building, breaking windows and damaging the window frame of the building. Openshaw allegedly performed these actions because of the religious character of the synagogue. This charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.
The superseding indictment charges Openshaw with one count of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, possession of a firearm with a removed, obliterated or altered serial number and possession of a firearm while subject to a protective order. An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The matter is being investigated by the Salt Lake City Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Esqueda of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah, Central Division, and Trial Attorney Nicholas Durham of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.