HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A man who shot at a Connecticut mosque out of anger on the night of the deadly attacks in Paris was sentenced Friday to six months in prison.
Nobody was hurt when Ted Hakey Jr. opened fire on the empty Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden on Nov. 13, striking the building at least four times.
Hakey told reporters after the hearing that he was disappointed with the sentence, saying the prison term will get in the way of work he has begun with the mosque to promote religious tolerance.
"There's so much media here. What are they going to do? They can't just let me walk," he said. "So I understand that. I respect that. It is what it is."
Hakey pleaded guilty in February to destruction of religious property, a federal hate crime, and apologized in person in an emotional appearance at the mosque. Federal guidelines called for him to serve eight to 14 months in prison.
Hakey consumed about 10 alcoholic drinks at a bar before coming home and firing a handgun and rifle from his yard toward the mosque next door, investigators said. He also made several anti-Muslim posts on social media and expressed outrage about the Paris attacks that killed 130 people. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the carnage.
On Facebook Hakey wrote: "What is gonna be the breaking point to go 'weapons free' against Islam."
The leader of the mosque, Mohammed Qureshi, said members had forgiven Hakey and they urged to court to spare him from prison.
Federal prosecutors noted the FBI has reported a rise in hate crimes around the country and said Hakey should have been incarcerated for a time as a deterrent.