Denver police identify man accused of making threats outside mosque

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DENVER — The Denver Police Department identified the man accused of making threats outside a mosque in the Whittier neighborhood.

On Friday, DPD said Benjamin Casillas-Rocha, 24, is being held for investigation of felony menacing.

The incident occurred Thursday in the 2900 block of Downing Street, outside the Downtown Denver Islamic Center.

According to an arrest affidavit, about 3:42 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to the mosque on a report of a disturbance involving a person possibly armed with a gun.

Shortly after police were called, Casillas-Rocha left the area. Officers located and arrested him in the 2900 block of North Marion Street.

Investigators learned that earlier Thursday, Casillas-Rocha was inside the mosque. According to the affidavit, he was upset about losing his phone, which he believes he left inside.

He left the area and returned. When he came back, he appeared to be high on an unknown narcotic, according to the affidavit.

Casillas-Rocha was yelling at people outside the mosque. DPD said Thursday he was making anti-Muslim comments.

He left the area once again and returned with what appeared to be an assault rifle and what police described as a “banana clip.”

“Casillas-Rocha then cocked the charging handle of the rifle and pointed the rifle at the victims,” the affidavit states.

Following Casillas-Rocha’s arrest, police recovered the weapon, which was determined to be an airsoft assault rifle.

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