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Benjamin Casillas-Rocha Won't Face Hate Crime Charges In Mosque Air Rifle Incident

DENVER (CBS4) - The man arrested outside a Denver mosque who was carrying an air rifle will not be charged with a hate crime. Benjamin Casillas-Rocha has been charged with five counts of menacing for the incident that happened one week ago.

(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 of Nov. 14. who were standing outside Masjid Al-Shuhada Downtown Denver Islamic Center at 2952 North Downing Street, and pointed a weapon at them.

At the time, Denver Police Division Chief Ron Thomas said the suspect made anti-Muslim comments "in a bias motivated fashion."

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(credit: CBS)

Casillas-Rocha 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.

On Thursday, the Denver District Attorney declined to file hate crime charges because investigators say there is no evidence to believe that he targeted the victims because of their faith.

Benjamin Casillas-Rocha
Benjamin Casillas-Rocha (credit: Denver Police)

Casillas-Rocha is scheduled to appear in court early next month.

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