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Man who allegedly fired replica gun inside San Francisco synagogue faces hate crime enhancement over public comments

<i>From FBI SanFrancisco/Twitter</i><br/>The man arrested after allegedly firing a replica gun several times in a San Francisco synagogue last week now faces a hate crime enhancement.
From FBI SanFrancisco/Twitter
The man arrested after allegedly firing a replica gun several times in a San Francisco synagogue last week now faces a hate crime enhancement.

By Taylor Romine, CNN

A man arrested after allegedly firing a replica gun several times in a San Francisco synagogue now faces a hate crime enhancement, the city’s district attorney said Wednesday.

The hate crime allegation against 51-year-old Dmitri Mishin is tied to statements he made during the incident as well as social media posts he made involving “several postings of an individual in Nazi-type clothing,” San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a news conference.

While officials did not share what Mishin said while inside the synagogue, prosecutors believe he “harbored antisemitic views and that was the motivation for his actions,” Jenkins said. The hate crime allegation will enhance punishment guidelines if he is convicted, she added.

Mishin was arrested Friday, days after he allegedly stepped inside a synagogue in the Richmond District during a gathering and “made a verbal statement,” pulled out what appeared to be a firearm and shot several times inside the building, police have said.

Police recovered expended shell casings at the scene and at the time said they believed he had been firing blanks.

Mishin was charged Wednesday morning with two felony counts of “making threats obstructing exercise of religion,” and six misdemeanor counts of disturbing a religious meeting and brandishing a replica firearm, the district attorney’s office announced.

An attorney for Mishin is planning on presenting a “vigorous defense to show that Mr. Mishin is not guilty of any hate crime,” she said outside of San Francisco Superior Court on Thursday.

“It is important for the public to know that no one was physically harmed during the alleged incident, and it is alleged that Mr. Mishin was in possession of a replica firearm,” Deputy Public Defender Olivia Taylor said.

Mishin was in court Thursday to be arraigned, but the hearing was pushed to February 17, the DA’s office said. He will remain in custody until his next court date, they said.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of all charges, according to Jenkins.

“It is clear that antisemitism is still active and strong even here in San Francisco, in such a diverse place, and it’s something that will not be tolerated by this office or by myself,” Jenkins said.

“Anyone who would walk into a synagogue of that sort, and make the statements that he did and displayed what appeared to be a firearm, is somebody who poses a public safety risk,” Jenkins said.

The incident at the San Francisco synagogue came just days after a man allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at a New Jersey synagogue amid a backdrop of recent incendiary antisemitic incidents, including tweets from Kanye West, signs over a major Los Angeles bridge and messages projected on buildings in Florida.

The Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism, which has tracked incidents of US antisemitic harassment, vandalism and assault since 1979, found 2,717 incidents of antisemitism in the US in 2021, up a significant 34% from the previous year.

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