DENVER (CBS4) – A man who held up what appeared to be an assault rifle in a threatening manner outside a Denver mosque was only holding an air rifle. That’s according to Denver police, who released a photo of suspect Benjamin Casillas-Rocha on Friday following Thursday’s disturbance.

(credit: CBS)

Investigators said Casillas-Rocha, 24, was the man who was on some sort of drug when he approached four people late in the afternoon who were standing outside Masjid Al-Shuhada Downtown Denver Islamic Center at 2952 North Downing Street and pointed a weapon at them. Denver Police Division Chief Ron Thomas said the suspect made anti-Muslim comments “in a bias motivated fashion.” He pointed but didn’t fire the gun and left the parking lot on foot but officers located him close by and took him into custody.

Benjamin Casillas-Rocha

Benjamin Casillas-Rocha (credit: Denver Police)

Casillas-Rocha had been in the mosque earlier in the day, according to police paperwork. He now tentatively faces a felony menacing charge.

(credit: CBS)

No one was hurt during the encounter, but the Mosque’s Imam told CBS4 incident left people there totally shaken.

The Denver Police Department increased patrols around Denver mosques as a precaution.


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