John David Weissinger has a case against him stemming from profane phone messages received by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in San Diego, California. According to Deputy District Attorney Oscar Garcia, a staff member received the message in which Weissinger supposedly threatened the center with a mass shooting.
The Jan. 15th phone call was traced by the San Diego Police Department to Weissinger’s house. When law enforcement arrived at the house, they found an AR-15 assault rifle with a high-capacity ammunition magazine. As reported by Garcia, police also found “slurs and writings of a racist nature” in the house as well. Weissinger, 53, was later accused of using his iPhone to send a threatening message to the CAIR office based in Washington, D.C.
He has been charged with making threatening calls and attempting threatening communications, both of which are felonies that are being considered hate crimes. Weissinger is also being charged with misdemeanors regarding the harassing calls and the obstruction of his victims’ civil rights. If convicted on all charges, the penalty includes 5 years in prison. Weissinger is currently free on a $50,000 bond.
“My client had consumed copious amounts of alcohol and was watching the Charlie Hebdo (massacre in Paris) on television,” said Weissinger’s defense attorney. “When people are under the influence of alcohol, they tend to do a lot of things they shouldn’t do and wish they could take back.”
But the executive director of CAIR in San Diego, Hanif Mohebi, noted that drunkenness is no excuse for the fear inflicted on his organization. Furthermore, Mohebi responded by saying a double standard has been exposed by this case, and that the U.S. criminal justice system is at fault. “Had this been a Muslim who committed this crime, the FBI would be investigating it, and they are not. … We are the victims of terrorism, and this case should be treated as such.”
Weissinger stated that he inherited a selection of guns from his brother who had passed away, and that he sold all of them except the AR-15. Though there was a magazine found with the gun, there was no ammunition found at the house by police.