A man who allegedly menaced a woman and child playing in a San Francisco park because he believed they were Muslims was arrested last week, but has since been released from custody.
In a press release sent Thursday, the San Francisco Police Department said that on Friday March 17 at around 7:20 p.m., 27-year-old Joshua Ruano allegedly approached a woman and her toddler son in a park located near Fourth and Howard Streets —"the children’s play area near the Moscone Convention Center," the Chron reports.
The woman, who police say "was wearing a veil traditionally worn by Muslim women," said that Ruano "approached her and made anti-Muslim remarks and threatened to shoot her."
The woman and her child fled the scene "to get away from the suspect." Following a search of the area, police detained Ruano, a San Francisco resident, near the scene. He was identified as the suspect, and was arrested.
According to the Chron, Ruano did not have a gun on his person when he was arrested.
SFPD spokesperson Officer Grace Gatpandan tells the Chron that Ruano wasn't acquainted with the victim, and that it appears "to be a random instance of hate crime violence." Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations San Francisco Bay Area, seems unsurprised by that fact when speaking to the LA Times, saying "this incident in San Francisco reminds all of us of the critical work to be done in our own communities to prevent hate crimes and protect each other....We applaud this woman who was targeted while with her child for bravely coming forward and hope it will encourage others to also seek help."
Police say that Ruano was booked into San Francisco County Jail on "charges of criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement and other unrelated charges." However, a spokesperson with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department confirmed today that he is no longer in custody, but declined to provide additional details. According to the Chron, he was released on bail, and "the district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to inquiries about whether Ruano had been charged."