The suspect who fired a shotgun near the Temple Israel synagogue in the Albany, New York, faces charges in court Friday. No one was injured. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said anti-Semitism and Islamophobia hate must be rejected. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A man accused of firing a shotgun outside a Temple Israel synagogue in Albany, N.Y., is due in court Friday. No one was hurt in the incident.
Suspect Mufid Fawaz Alkhader was federally charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Two shots were fired from a Kel-Tec KS7 12 gauge pump shotgun around 2 p.m. Thursday, according to Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins. Police don't know where the shots were directed.
At a news conference Hawkins said, "We were told by responding officers that he made a comment, 'Free Palestine.'"
Police are investigating the shots as a hate crime.
The Albany FBI said on X, "Thanks to the swift coordination between the ATF, FBI, and our partners at Albany Police Department and New York State Police, Mufid Fawaz Alkhader has been arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person."
New York Gov. Kathy Hocul said the suspect allegedly made "threatening statements" as he fired the shotgun in a parking area of Albany synagogue Temple Israel.
"And I remind everyone, as New Yorkers this is not who we are. This must stop. We reject hate, anti-Semitism [and] Islamophobia. All hate crimes must stop, and all violence in every form must cease," Hocul said.
On Nov. 26, three Palestinian students studying at U.S. universities were shot in Vermont. One of them was paralyzed.
Reacting to those shootings, a cousin of one of the wounded students said on X, "Dangerous performative rhetoric from U.S. pundits and politicians as well as constant dehumanization of Palestinians has a real-life cost."
According to the FBI, hate crimes based on anti-Jewish bias accounted for 1,122 of all the 2,042 religion-based crimes in 2022. The FBI recorded 158 anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2022.
Most hate crimes tracked by the FBI in 2022 were race-based, with over half being committed against Black people.