Coachella mosque hit by gunfire in possible hate crime

Coachella Police are investigating a possible hate crime after a mosque was struck by gunfire early Tuesday. (KABC)

Riverside County officials are investigating a possible hate crime after shots were fired at a mosque in Coachella.

Gunfire erupted around 5 a.m. Tuesday on the 84000 block of Avenue 49. According to police, there were people inside the building at the time, but no injuries were reported.

The bullets struck a vehicle and the building. Police say the incident "is being investigated as a possible hate crime."

"A reasonable person would believe that when a mosque is targeted it could possibly be a hate crime," said Riverside County Sheriff's Captain Andrew Shouse. "At this point there have been no threats made toward the mosque."

Six bullet holes could be seen in and around the building: one in the front wall; one in the front door; another on the wrought-iron fence; three others in a car parked on the street out front.

"I know we have been getting a lot of bad press around the world, but that is really and truly not what Islam is," said Imam Reymundo Nour from the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley.

The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) called for an FBI investigation of the shooting.

"Any time shots are fired at a house of worship, the FBI should offer its resources to local authorities to help determine whether or not there was a bias motive for the attack," CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said in a statement. "Our nation's leaders also need to speak out against the growing level of anti-Muslim sentiment that can lead to such incidents."

Police are unaware of any surveillance video of the shooting, and have no suspect descriptions.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the Coachella Police Department at (760) 863-8990.

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religionhate crime investigationhate crimeshootingCoachella
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