Corpus Christi's Islamic community cautiously continued Ramadan worship Saturday while investigators prowled the McArdle Road mosque's perimeter for clues to who shot through the door Friday.
Osama Bahloul, spiritual leader at The Islamic Center of South Texas, said he hopes the shots were accidental. Bahloul had a study class after lunch in his front office with seven colorfully draped young women.
"We hope this is the end of it," he said. "But we are genuinely concerned about our people. We have a large number of children here this month, and if he or she did this again someone could be killed."
The mosque's about 600 members are celebrating Ramadan, a month of dawn-to-dusk fasting, prayer in mosques and giving to the poor, which this year began at sunset Wednesday. Members have been advised to be aware of their surroundings, and Bahloul said the center will install video cameras as a security precaution.
Initial witness information reported two gunshots fired Friday, but investigators have found evidence of only one shot hitting the mosque, Cmdr. Jesse V. Garcia said as he picked at a hole in the rock siding outside the office prayer study. Officers focused their search for the bullet's origin along McArdle Road.
The bullet pierced the top aluminum frame of a glass entry door between 3:30 and 5 p.m. Friday and shattered an exit transom window about 10 inches higher than the entry hole at the other end of the central hallway.
"We're sure it's a high-caliber weapon, based on the damage," Garcia said. Investigators have found pieces of the bullet for testing, although police had no suspects as of Saturday afternoon.
Garcia said Saturday police had not determined whether to consider the incident a hate crime. [Link]
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