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