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Man pleads guilty to shooting at Salt Lake City synagogue

By Morgan Jacobsen | Posted - Apr 16th, 2014 @ 8:10pm



SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake man pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges filed after he fired a gun at the Congregation Kol Ami synagogue in Salt Lake City between January and April 2012.

Macon Openshaw, 21, admitted in U.S. District Court to firing three rounds from a Walther .22-caliber handgun at the synagogue because of its religious identity, hitting the unoccupied structure's second-floor window casing and exterior wall, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Openshaw also admitted to possessing and using a handgun with a destroyed serial number in the shooting, as well as possessing several other firearms and ammunition while he was subject to a protective order, the release states.

Openshaw entered into a plea agreement for five years of incarceration. As part of the agreement, he agreed to pay restitution for repairs that were made to the synagogue.

Openshaw is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell on July 15.

"Religiously motivated violence tears at the fabric of our diverse society," said Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division. "Today and in the future, the department stands vigilant to confront and eradicate violence based on a person's religion, and we will continue to vigorously prosecute those who commit crimes born of hate."

The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by attorneys at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Utah, as well as the Civil Rights Division's Criminal Section.

"Every citizen living in Utah has a right to be free from intimidation and threatening conduct," said U.S. Attorney David Barlow. "The U.S. Attorney's Office has a strong history of prosecuting those who violate the civil rights of others"

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