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San Francisco police arrest man who allegedly fired ‘possible blanks’ inside a synagogue

<i>From FBI SanFrancisco/Twitter</i><br/>
From FBI SanFrancisco/Twitter

By Taylor Romine, CNN

San Francisco police arrested a man suspected of firing several apparently blank rounds inside a synagogue and a movie theater earlier this week, authorities said Friday.

Officers found the man around 5:00 p.m. PT Friday and detained him “without further incident,” the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement.

Investigators developed probable cause to obtain a search warrant and searched the suspect’s home. Evidence related to both incidents was seized, according to police.

The suspect, whose name was not released Friday, was booked into the San Francisco County Jail on the charges of disturbing any religious assembly, brandishing an imitation firearm, and causing another to refrain from engaging in a religious service, the statement said.

“While an arrest has been made, this remains an active investigation,” San Francisco police said.

On Wednesday evening, the man allegedly stepped inside a synagogue in the Richmond District during a gathering and “made a verbal statement, pulled out a firearm and shot several times inside the building,” police said in a statement.

There were no injuries and no damage to the building, the statement said.

Police recovered expended shell casings at the scene that are “being investigated as possible blanks,” police said.

Investigators aren’t releasing details on what the suspect allegedly said during the incident because they are still collecting witness statements, San Francisco police told CNN.

The FBI in San Francisco said it is assisting the investigation and released photos of a man they are looking for.

Shots were fired inside the synagogue in San Francisco just days after a man allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at a New Jersey synagogue early Sunday and 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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CNN’s Celina Tebor, Isa Kaufman-Geballe, Zoe Sottile and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.

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