SAN DIEGO — A Clairemont man was behind bars Wednesday on suspicion of entering a mosque near his home in the midst of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and threatening to kill the entire congregation.
Larry Michael Rodgers, 52, walked into the Islamic Center of San Diego in the 7000 block of Eckstrom Avenue about 5 a.m. Monday, as worshippers were engaged in their morning prayers, according to police.
When congregants asked him if he wanted to remove his shoes and pray with them, Rodgers said no, then spewed expletive-laced insults and said, “I’m going to kill you all,” before leaving, SDPD Capt. Brian Ahearn alleged.
Several of the mosque members followed Rodgers as he walked through the neighborhood, calling police as they did so to report his direction of travel, Ahearn said. Officers caught up with the suspect near a strip mall in the 3800 block of Convoy Street a short time later and took him into custody.
Rodgers was booked on suspicion of making a death threat and was being held on $50,000 bail.
Investigators were looking into whether Rodgers had any connection to several telephone threats received in April and May by a Muslim kindergarten- through eighth-grade campus adjacent to the mosque, the captain said.
Among other hostile statements, the apparently female anonymous caller said, “I’m going to throw a bomb in your (expletive) school,” according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
This morning, police searched Rodgers’ apartment in the 7700 block of Belden Street with an explosives-handling squad present as a precaution, impounding computer equipment and other possible evidence. No weapons were found, Ahearn said.
There have been no arrests related to the telephone threats.