DENVER — The United States Attorney in Colorado is apologizing after sending an email making it seem like the incident involving a Denver mosque was not as serious as a bias-motivated crime. In the email, he indicated the suspect was drunk waving an airsoft gun.
US Attorney Jason Dunn sent the first email Friday and a second one on Saturday, apologizing for making a conclusion too fast.
The first email said:
I’m writing to give you a quick update about a case that has been in the news that also may be affecting your community. As you may have heard, a man was arrested last night outside a Denver mosque, accused of threatening people inside with a firearm. I reached out to Denver PD Chief Pazen within a few minutes of the report to offer our help, and FBI was quickly on scene with DPD. They have concluded that the person was not motivated by any anti-Muslim sentiment, as may have been incorrectly reported in the media, and instead appears to have simply been a highly intoxicated resident of the neighborhood. DPD has indicated that at this time they do not need our assistance. Nonetheless, I want to assure you that both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have taken this incident very seriously and will continue to monitor it, although we have no reason to believe that the subject poses any threat to members of your community. If any of you have additional concerns, please feel free to reach out to me, my office, or the FBI. I hope you are all well.
Saturday morning, the US Attorney backtracked that. He sent this email to members of the Muslim community:
"The intent of my email was simply to relay that the US Attorney’s Office was aware of the incident, had reached out to DPD to offer our help, that there appeared to not be any further immediate threat given that the person was in custody, and to make sure that our friends in the Muslim community know that we take any potential bias-motivated incident seriously. While I had received some initial reports from my staff that it did not appear to be a hate-motivated incident, I should have been more clear that it was still an open investigation by DPD and that any ultimate conclusions about what happened or what was motivating the individual would be up to that agency. My apologies if in my haste to reach out I created a false impression that any investigation had reached definitive conclusions. We of course stand ready to help the DPD or FBI should any investigation warrant it.
I remain always happy to chat further or meet anytime to discuss this incident or any other subject.
Leaders of the Muslim community said they respect the apology. Attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai told 9NEWS he wished there was more of that. "He issued a correction, but we understood what his intent was, Jason and his office have been long term supporters of the Muslim community and we appreciate that."
Benjamin Casillas-Rocha, 24, was arrested after the incident Thursday for investigation of felony menacing, police said.