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Utah Man Pleads Guilty to Firing on Salt Lake City Synagogue

A Utah man pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights crime for firing a gun at a Salt Lake City synagogue in 2012.

Image by Kol Ami

Macon Openshaw, 21, of Salt Lake City, pleaded guilty on April 16 in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah to firing three rounds from a handgun at the Congregation Kol Ami synagogue in Salt Lake City, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice. The shots broke windows and damaged the window casings.

Openshaw admitted to firing at the synagogue because of its Jewish character.

“Religiously-motivated violence tears at the fabric of our diverse society,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels of the Justice Department’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.”

As part of a plea bargain, Openshaw could be sentenced to up to five years in prison. He also agreed to pay to repair the damage. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 15.

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