The man who shot off blank rounds inside a San Francisco synagogue last week has now been charged with hate crimes, in addition to other charges.
A day after rabbis at the Outer Richmond's Schneerson Center, where the gunfire took place last Wednesday, publicly demanded such charges, SF District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced that hate crime charges have been filed against 51-year-old suspect Dimitri Mishin.
"The rise and persistence of antisemitism is real. We must stand with our Jewish community against it," Jenkins said in a statement. "My office will continue to make clear that there is a zero tolerance for hate in San Francisco."
The rise and persistence of antisemitism is real. We must stand with our Jewish community against it.— Brooke Jenkins 謝安宜 (@BrookeJenkinsSF) February 8, 2023
My office will continue to make clear that there is a zero tolerance for hate in San Francisco. https://t.co/CuU1EGQt8x
Mishin was arrested on Friday, and he now faces two felony counts of making threats obstructing exercise of religion with hate-crime enhancements, one misdemeanor count of disturbing a religious meeting, and five misdemeanor counts of brandishing a replica firearm.
Last Wednesday, Mishin allegedly entered the Schneerson Center, on the 2600 block of Balboa Street, during a study session and fired what appeared to be a handgun after saying in Russian that he was "from Mossad," the Israeli intelligence service. About 20 Russian-speaking synagogue members, most of them senior citizens, were present at the time. Mishin then, according to police, brandished his gun at the nearby Balboa Theatre about 45 minutes later.
The incident at the Schneerson Center was captured on surveillance video, as seen in a still below.
Mishin reportedly lives just a few blocks away from the synagogue, and the Jewish News of Northern California subsequently dug up social media posts including a photo of Mishin appearing to be wearing a Nazi uniform, and "a plethora of posts celebrat[ing] Nazism." A Twitter account created just a few months ago, apparently linked to Mishin, also includes a January 31 tweet featuring a vintage Nazi-era propaganda poster with a caricature of a Jewish person and the words "Danger! Jew!"
"This is another deplorable example where our Jewish community has been targeted for who they are and what they believe," DA Jenkins said. "There is no doubt that antisemitism is real and we must stand with our Jewish community against it. My office will make clear that there is zero tolerance for hate in San Francisco and there will be no safe haven for those who perpetrate these crimes."
Mishin has remained in custody since his arrest, and prosecutors are seeking pretrial detention "because of the public safety risk he poses," the DA's Office says.
The DA's Office's Vulnerable Victims Unit will oversee prosecution in the case.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information about Mishin or about the case is asked to call the SFPD's tip line at 415-575-4444, or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with “SFPD.”