Live

Watch CBSN Live

L.A. man charged with making terrorist threats against Islamic Center

LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles man found with multiple weapons and hundreds of pounds of ammunition in his home was charged with making terrorist threats to the Islamic Center of Southern California, authorities announced Tuesday.

Mark Lucian Feigin was arrested last week on the charge, which has been designated as a hate crime, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Feigin, 40, has been released on bail. A message left at a number listed under his name was not returned Tuesday and it was unclear if he has an attorney.

Feigin first called the Islamic center Sept. 19 and left a hate-filled voicemail, police said. The next day, they said, he called and threatened to kill people at the center.

Police also believe Feigin was posting threatening and hate-filled posts on his social media pages.

When police served a search warrant at Feigin’s home last week, they found at least nine guns and 250 pounds of ammunition, LAPD Cmdr. Horace Frank said at a news conference.

Some of the weapons are registered to Feigin while some are registered to others, Feigin said, adding that some of the ammunition clips had been modified to shoot at high capacity. 

los-angeles-islamic-center-threats-3-2016-10-25.jpg
Weapons found in the home of  Mark Lucian Feigin, who has been charged with making terror threats against an Islamic Center in Los Angeles. CBS Los Angeles

Investigators said Feigin’s anti-Islam rants on Twitter showed the extent of his hatred, CBS Los Angeles reports

“People make threats of this nature and they have the means to carry out those threats. It’s a very serious matter,” Capt. Horace Frank of the LAPD’s Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau said Tuesday. “We recognize everyone has the right to free speech, but with that right comes enormous responsibility.When someone starts talking about, `I’ll kill you,’ it becomes a concern to us.”

But Frank declined to say whether investigators believe Feigin was planning an attack or making empty threats.

The police captain acknowledged that the Islamic center regularly gets threatening phone calls, but Feigin’s threats stood out. “When he crossed the line is when he threatened to kill them,” Frank said. “That’s where free speech ends.”

“Unfortunately in today’s political climate, such hate is not uncommon or when something happened to the world, we get a call every once in a while. But this particular call rose to a different level,” said Omar Ricci, Chairman of the Islamic Center of Southern California and an L.A. reserve officer in the Counter-terrorism and Special Operations Bureau.

The California attorney general charged Feigin with making criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement.

But he was released on $75,000 bail, frustrating members of the Muslim community, who believed he should face terrorism charges.

“I can’t tell you everything. But I can guarantee you he won’t carry out those threats,” said Assistant Chief Mike Downey.

los-angeles-islamic-center-threats-2016-10-25.png
  Mark Lucian Feigin has been charged with making terror threats against an Islamic Center in Los Angeles. CBS Los Angeles

Frank declined to say whether police believe Feigin was planning an attack or making empty threats.

The Islamic center has obtained a restraining order against Feigin.

Ricci, the spokesman for the center, said Feigin’s first call was filled with expletives, and included calling its members “rats” and telling them to leave their religion. The second one included death threats, he said. 

He said the center was pleased with Feigin’s arrest but concerned that he had been released on bail, so much so that they’ve increased the number armed security guards who protect the facility, which includes an elementary school.

Ricci said the center typically gets an increase in angry phone calls after a high-profile terrorist attack, including San Bernardino and Orlando.

“People call and hang up or get out what they have to say and don’t bother to engage in conversation,” Ricci said. “This guy called multiple times, the vitriol in his voice, and the hate in how he was saying things - he was really, really in a rage.”