No hate crime found in threats outside Denver mosque

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Benjamin Casillas-Rocha. Credit: DPD

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DENVER — A man accused of threatening people outside a Denver mosque won’t be prosecuted for a hate crime.

Prosecutors charged 24-year-old Benjamin Casillas-Rocha with five counts of menacing Thursday. Denver District Attorney Beth McCann says the police’s bias motivated crimes team couldn’t find any evidence that either the victims or the mosque were targeted because of their faith or religious beliefs.

Casillas-Rocha is accused of pointing what turned out to be an airsoft rifle at four people outside the Downtown Denver Islamic Center on Nov. 14. Police said he made threatening comments but haven’t detailed what he said.

Police said Rocha had been in the mosque earlier in the day and was upset because he believed he had left his phone inside. They say he returned later in the day with the airsoft rifle.

Court records don’t list an attorney for him.

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