Meriden Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Offense
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that TED HAKEY, JR., 48, of Meriden, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to a federal hate crime offense stemming from his firing shots into the Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden.
“A core mission of the Justice Department is to protect every person against racially, religiously and ethnically motivated violence and intimidation,” said U.S. Attorney Daly. “Individuals who commit hateful, divisive and violent acts against others in violation of federal law will be prosecuted. All of us have a right to worship freely and without fear of violence. I thank the FBI, ATF, Connecticut State Police and Meriden Police Department for their superb investigative efforts. We hope that the swift resolution of this case and the defendant’s acceptance of responsibility bring some solace to the Baitul Aman Mosque community.”
“Today’s guilty plea affirms that law enforcement and our criminal justice system are clear, that intolerance will not prevail,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Ferrick.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in the early morning hours of November 14, 2015, officers from the Meriden Police Department responded to citizen complaints about shots being fired around the area of 410 Main Street in Meriden, the location of the Baitul Aman Mosque. On Sunday, November 15, 2015, a family who entered the Mosque to worship noticed damage to the interior walls and the drop ceiling of the Mosque and called the police. Investigators determined that approximately three rounds shot from a high-powered rifle had penetrated the building, and another had hit an exterior area. A preliminary analysis of the trajectory of the bullets indicated that they likely came from a high-powered rifle shot from the area of 380 Main Street, the house located closest to the Mosque, which is HAKEY’s residence.
In subsequent interviews with authorities, HAKEY admitted that he had shot a Springfield M1A rifle at the Mosque on November 14, 2015.
The investigation revealed that after HAKEY had learned about terrorist attacks that had occurred in Paris on November 13, 2015, he posted the following status to his Facebook account: “What is gonna be the breaking point to go “weapons free” against Islam?”
“Weapons free” is a military command to shoot at will.
HAKEY also sent a Facebook friend a private message saying: “I hate ISLAM!.”
HAKEY’s Facebook account also contained other evidence of animus toward Muslims and Islam. For example, earlier in 2015, HAKEY had told a Facebook friend that he has “a mosque right next door” and that he had “observe[d] them with [his] binos [binoculars].” In the same conversation, he said “All Muslims must die!!! I hate them all.” In July 2015, he posted to Facebook: “If we all kill just 1 Muslim each tonight it will make a dent!.”
HAKEY was arrested on December 17, 2015.
HAKEY pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally damaging religious property through use of a dangerous weapon, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000. Judge Shea scheduled sentencing for May 10, 2016.
HAKEY is released on a $400,000 bond.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Connecticut State Police and the Meriden Police Department.