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David Conrad, 51, arrested in Chicago mosque air rifle shooting

David Conrad, 51, is accused of firing a high-velocity pellet rifle at a mosque in Morton Grove while 500 people were praying inside. (Credit: Morton Grove Police) Morton Grove Police

David Conrad, 51, is accused of firing a high-velocity pellet rifle at a mosque in Morton Grove.
Morton Grove Police

(CBS/AP) CHICAGO - Police have arrested a 51-year-old man for allegedly shooting a pellet rifle at a mosque in a northern Chicago suburb on Friday night, authorities said.

David Conrad was taken into custody and investigators seized a high-velocity air rifle outfitted with a scope as part of their investigation into the shooting at the Muslim Education Center in Morton Grove. 

In an email statement Sunday, police said Conrad had been charged with three felony counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and one felony count of criminal damage to property. A bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.

No one was wounded Friday, but a Muslim civil liberties group said the shots damaged an outer brick wall of the center shortly after worshippers observing the holy month of Ramadan broke their daily fast.

Morton Grove Police Chief Mark Erickson said Saturday that a security guard at the center heard a projectile hit an outside wall of the building. Police were called and the department began to investigate.

Sunday's police statement gave few details of Conrad's arrest, saying only that  found the suspect after being directed to an area just east of the Muslim Education Center property.

The mosque's president, Mohammad Aleemuddin, said he thinks Conrad should also be charged with a hate crime, reports CBS Chicago.

Morton Grove Police Chief Mark Erickson said investigators were told Friday night that windows at the mosque previously had been broken, but not reported.

CBS Chicago reports that police and members of the FBI examined the building Saturday morning as the scene of a possible hate crime, according to a release about the incident from the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

However, Sunday's press release did not mention any hate crime-related charges filed in connection with the incident, according to the station.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a community safety advisory last week for American mosques after other incidents targeting Muslim houses of worship in Missouri and Rhode Island and after the deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Aug. 5.

  • Crimesider Staff

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