Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Former Army medic arrested in vandalism at Colorado mosque

By: The Associated Press
March 28, 2017 Updated: March 28, 2017 at 8:25 pm
0
Caption +
In this Sunday, March 26, 2017, still image from a video surveillance camera, a suspect is shown during the vandalizing of a mosque near Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the person who overturned benches, broke windows and threw a Bible into a mosque near Colorado State University, a case they are investigating as a hate crime. (Fort Collins Police Department via AP)

FORT COLLINS — Police arrested a former Army medic after a vandal broke windows and left a Bible at a Colorado mosque — an act that led to an outpouring of support for Muslims, authorities said

Joseph Scott Giaquinto, 35, was taken into custody Monday on suspicion of committing a crime motivated by bias and other allegations just hours after police released surveillance video and asked for the public's help identifying a hoodie-wearing man seen picking up a stone and kicking a door at the Islamic Center in Fort Collins.

The suspect's father, Michael Giaquinto, told the Coloradoan that his son was an Army medic who served in Iraq and Korea and moved last year to Fort Collins — the home of Colorado State University about 60 miles (96 kilometers) north of Denver.

"No matter what we find out happened, my son is a good man," he told the newspaper. "He served his country well. Even if he was involved, and I'm not saying he was, it would just indicate that he was in a kind of a bad place.

"This whole affair has been exhausting. Here in Fort Collins, that sort of thing is not what we do," Michael Giaquinto said.

Mosque Vandalism
This photo provided Tuesday, March 28, 2017, by the Larimer County Sheriff's Office shows mosque vandalism suspect Joseph Scott Giaquinto. Giaquinto was arrested on suspicion of several charges, including a crime motivated by bias, on March 27 just hours after police released portions of surveillance video and asked for the public's help identifying the hoodie-wearing man seen picking up a stone and kicking a door. (Larimer County Sheriff's Office via AP) 

According to an arrest affidavit, the younger Giaquinto acknowledged damaging the mosque. Investigators said they also found items at the man's apartment that linked him to the vandalism.

He is being held on $7,500 bail, and booking documents do not indicate if he has hired an attorney.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group, said there have been 35 attacks on mosques so far this year — ranging from arson to torn Qurans — compared with 19 between January and March last year.

The group believes people who may have hidden their anti-Muslim views in the past have been emboldened to act by the election of President Donald Trump, who called for a ban on Muslims entering the country during his campaign.

In response, more mosques have installed surveillance video and police have become aware of the trend, group spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

Police haven't said what led them to Joseph Giaquinto in the Colorado incident.

About 1,000 people gathered Sunday at the mosque for a rally organized by a rabbi and many supporters have made donations online to pay for repairs and improved security.

Police Chief John Hutto, who attended the rally, said he hoped the arrest sends a message that the community will not tolerate acts of hatred.

"While the building can be repaired, this incident caused deeper hurt that won't just go away." he said in a statement.

Last month, someone was seen on security video throwing a rock through a window at the Colorado Muslim Society mosque near Denver but no arrests have been made and investigators say they have exhausted their leads.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.