Meriden Man Sentenced to Prison for 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, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to six months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for firing shots into the Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden in November.
“We all have a right to worship freely and without fear of violence, and individuals who commit hateful, divisive and violent acts against others need to know that a prison term will be the end result,” said U.S. Attorney Daly. “This is an appropriate sentence that balances the need for justice with the defendant’s genuine expressions of remorse and the victims’ plea for a sentence that didn’t include jail time. Since the time of the shooting, the congregation of the Baitul Aman Mosque has turned this senseless and hateful crime into something positive – using their story as a way of raising awareness about the peaceful message of Islam. Rather than just letting themselves be victims, they took a stand, reached out to the defendant, and offered him forgiveness and reconciliation. Their generosity of spirit serves as a role model for all of us. I thank the FBI, ATF, Connecticut State Police and Meriden Police Department whose superb efforts not only solved a hate crime, but also helped both heal and empower the victims in this case and the broader Muslim community in Connecticut.”
“This case highlights how law enforcement, the judicial system and our community working together can affect positive social change,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Ferrick. “This incident should serve as an educational tool and illustrate to everyone that ignorance and hate should never prevail.”
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. On February 11, 2016, he pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally damaging religious property through use of a dangerous weapon.
During today’s sentencing proceeding, Dr. Mohammed Qureshi, the president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, spoke on behalf of the Baitul Aman Mosque congregation. Dr. Qureshi discussed the congregation’s interactions with HAKEY since the shooting occurred, detailed HAKEY expressions of remorse and asked Judge Shea to impose no additional term of incarceration. Judge Shea noted that the congregation’s victim statement was both “rare and inspiring,” but also stated the need for general deterrence in sentencing HAKEY to a term of imprisonment.
HAKEY, who is released on bond, was ordered to report to prison on August 15, 2016.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Connecticut State Police and the Meriden Police Department.