Meriden man pleads guilty to shooting at mosque

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HARTFORD — A Meriden man pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for shooting at a mosque next to his home shortly after the deadly attacks in Paris.

Ted Hakey Jr., 48, pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon in federal court in Hartford to damaging religious property with a dangerous weapon.

“A core mission of the Justice Department is to protect every person against racially, religiously and ethnically motivated violence and intimidation,” said U.S. Attorney Dierdre Daly.  “Individuals who commit hateful, divisive and violent acts against others in violation of federal law will be prosecuted.  All of us have a right to worship freely and without fear of violence.”

Authorities say the mosque was empty and no one was hurt when Hakey shot at Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden with a rifle shortly after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. Four bullets struck the mosque.

The investigation revealed that after Hakey heard about the Paris attacks he posted on Facebook: “What is gonna be the breaking point to go ‘weapons free’ against Islam?”

Weapons free is a military term that means shoot at will.

Earlier in the year he made other comments on Facebook, including, “All Muslims must die!!! I hate them all,” and “If we all kill just 1 Muslim each tonight it will make a dent!”

The charge carries up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hakey will be sentenced May 10. He remains out on a $400,000 bond.