MINNEAPOLIS - A man faces assault charges in connection with a Dinkytown shooting last month in which two Muslim men were hit by gunfire.
Anthony Sawina, 26, or Lauderdale, is being held in the Hennepin County Jail on five counts of second-degree assault. He's scheduled to be in court Monday afternoon.
In the early morning hours of June 29, investigators say five young men, all dressed in traditional Muslim robes, were in a car headed to Ramadan overnight prayers when they were confronted by the gunman at the intersection of 14th Avenue S.E. and 6th Street S.E.
One of the shooting victims, Hussein Gelle, said he and his friends overheard a "very drunk young man" making disparaging remarks about Muslims.
According to the complaint, the group heard a man yell, "F--- Muslims."
He said they spotted the man in question at the next intersection, and the driver of the car asked the man why he'd been saying those things.
"The man said, 'I didn't say those things. I know a lot of Muslims. I have Muslim friends' and we said, 'That's great!' and so we thought it was over," Gelle recalled.
"But his friend came up and said, 'What if I said (expletive) Muslims? What would you do if I said (expletive) Muslims?' And we told him it was over."
Gelle said that's when the man pulled out a handgun and added, "Well I am saying it! I am saying it, and there's nothing you can do about it!"
That's when, they say, the shooting began.
Local Muslim leaders later decried the shooting and thanked police for treating the attack as a bias crime.
A criminal complaint was not available for release Sunday but, according to the Star Tribune, investigators used surveillance footage from the area and receipts from several nearby bars to identify potential suspects. Sawina was arrested in Thursday with a .380-caliber handgun, matching the caliber of the weapon used in the shooting, according to authorities.