Man charged with hate crime for allegedly shooting up synagogue
A Salt Lake City man has been indicted on federal hate crime charges that he fired shots at a synagogue in 2012 in a religiously motivated attack.
In an indictment returned Wednesday by a grand jury, prosecutors wrote that Macon Openshaw shot up the Kol Ami synagogue in Salt Lake City sometime between January and April 2012. Openshaw allegedly fired several rounds from a Walther .22 caliber handgun, breaking windows and damaging a window frame.
"We [are] convinced that we can prove that he targeted it because of its religious affiliation," said Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney David Barlow. Rydalch said she could not provide further details as to Openshaw's alleged religious motivation.
Openshaw, 21, also is charged with using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, possession of a firearm with a removed serial number, and possession of a firearm while subject to a protective order. According to an earlier complaint, a confidential informant told investigators that Openshaw had pictures of himself with a sawed-off shotgun and other firearms. Agents searched Openshaw's home and found the Walther .22 and a sawed-off SKS semi-automatic rifle. Openshaw has been the respondent of two protective orders, the most recent one filed by a woman in July.
Openshaw pleaded guilty in 2011 to misdemeanor possession of a deadly weapon with intent to assault, which was reduced from felony aggravated assault. Openshaw allegedly held a man at knifepoint during a movie at a West Jordan theater because the victim had gotten out his cellphone to dim the screen.
He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in 2012 on allegations that he pushed his 65-year-old grandmother to the floor and slapped her across the face during an argument.