Texas man gets 37 years for attack on Muslim-owned business

Texas man gets 37 years for attack on Muslim-owned business
Anthony Paz Torres, 39, pleaded guilty in September to opening fire at a Muslim-owned shop in the US in 2015.
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Texas man, Anthony Paz Torres, opened fire at a Muslim-owned tyre shop in 2015 [GETTY]

A man who opened fire at a Muslim-owned tyre shop in Dallas in 2015, killing one person, was sentenced Wednesday to 37 years in prison on federal hate crime charges, authorities said.

Anthony Paz Torres, 39, pleaded guilty in September to five federal hate crime counts for killing one man and trying to kill four others during the shooting at Omar's Wheels and Tires on Christmas Eve in 2015, the US Department of Justice said in a news release.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of using a firearm to commit murder, federal prosecutors said.

"Hate crimes fuelled by Islamophobia, or by bias of any kind, will be met with the full force of the Justice Department," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. "No person in this country should have to live in fear because of who they are, what they look like, or how they pray."

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Torres "intentionally targeted victims at a Muslim-owned business."

"This case is an abhorrent example of how deadly Islamophobia can be in our own country and the severe consequences that wait for anyone who commits acts of hateful violence," Wray said.

Torres is currently serving a 35-year sentence after being convicted of murder by a Dallas County jury in 2018 in the slaying of Enrique Garcia Mendoza, a 25-year-old who was a passenger in a car getting serviced outside the tyre shop.

Torres will get credit for time served in state custody, the Justice Department said.

Federal prosecutors said he admitted to making anti-Muslim comments at the tyre shop a few days before the shooting and pledging to come back. When he returned, he asked customers if they were Muslim. After being escorted to his vehicle by tyre shop employees, prosecutors said he fired in the direction of multiple employees and customers.

Prosecutors said Torres admitted to opening fire because he believed they were Muslim.