Muslims call for hate crime charges over death threats

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SAN DIEGO — Muslim community leaders are calling on prosecutors to press hate crime charges against a man accused of walking into a local mosque and threatening to kill everyone inside with a bomb.

Surveillance picture of man suspected of threatening to kill people at Islamic Center of San Diego.

“Parents are concerned. The community is concerned. We want justice to be served,” said Hanif Mohebi, executive director for the Center for American-Islamic Relations of San Diego.

“He yelled, ‘You are terrorist rats and I’m going to kill you all,’” said Imam Taha Hassane, with the Islamic Center of San Diego where the incident took place.

San Diego Police arrested the suspect, identified as 52-year-old Larry Michael Rodgers, shortly after the incident Monday morning.

Rodgers, who lives about a mile away from the mosque, is pleading not guilty to terrorist threat charges and is in jail, with bail set at $50,000.

San Diego Police officers served a search warrant at the suspect’s home and are saying they found no explosives, but they are remaining tight-lipped about what they did find.

Investigators say Rodgers is also a person of interest in several other threats to the mosque over the past few months.

“Voicemails threatening to bomb the mosque and the school and then a written letter with the same message,” Hassane added.

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