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MPD: Shooting Near U Of M Was 'Bias Motivated'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis police on Thursday confirmed they're investigating the recent shooting of two Muslim men as a possible hate crime.

And on Thursday, the Council on American Islamic Relations is demanding swift action to find those responsible. Police went to 14th Avenue Southeast and 6th Street South early Wednesday morning because someone heard shots.

There were no victims, but police did recover some evidence. A short time later, two people with gunshot wounds showed up at the University of Minnesota hospital.

Five young Somali-American men say they had just finished a game of basketball. Dressed in traditional robes, they were headed to a Mosque for early morning prayer.

That suddenly changed - near the corner of 14th Avenue Southeast and 6th Street.

"Minnesota's Muslim is shocked and horrified of the incident that took place yesterday morning." CAIR Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said.

They're alleging that a white male made derogatory "anti-Muslim" comments. Walking up to their car, and displaying a pistol, saying he had a permit to carry. As the five drove away the attacker allegedly opened fire, striking two of the passengers.

"He made it pretty clear it wasn't a case of misunderstanding or where someone felt threatened, it was an obvious attempt on their lives," Burhan Mohumed, a friend of the shooting victims, said.

Today, the Council on American Islamic Relations called on police and the FBI to investigate the shooting, they believe was motivated by hate.

"We're asking all Americans to stand with us, all Minnestoans to stand with us and condemning this, it's a hate crime, hate crime," Hassan Jama with the Islamic Association of North America said.

Police today confirmed they're looking into bias as a possible motivation for the shooting. But they have identified no suspects, and are asking for the public's help.

The most recent state data shows a big drop in bias motivated crimes - down about 40 percent. But one exception is crimes directed at Muslims - which are increasing.

We're told the FBI is aware of the situation and would become involved if evidence points to bias as a motive.

Anyone with information about this case is urged to call 911, the MPD Tip Line at 612-692-TIPS (8477) or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

People can also anonymously text their tips to 847411 (TIP411). First type "MPD" in the text's body, then a space, and then the information.

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