DEARBORN, Mich. – The identity of a 37-year-old man who started a fire at a Dearborn mosque, and then was killed during a shootout with police, has been released.
Dearborn police have identified the man as Ahmed Taqi, who started a fire at the Al-Huda Islamic Association in the early morning hours of Feb. 12.
Police said after squad cars arrived at the scene of the fire, which caused damage to the women’s entrance of the mosque, Taqi fired at officers.
“Within a few seconds of their arrival, Mr. Taqi fired at officers sitting in squad car, and for 19 minutes, they followed him, asking to surrender the firearm down,” said Dearborn Police Chief Issa Shahin.
When Taqi crossed into Detroit, police say he opened fire again.
Police shot back, killing Taqi.
Officials said Taqi was an Iraqi national who had served as a translator for the U.S. Army.
“There was nothing prior to this incident that would’ve led the FBI to want to investigate Taqi,” said Josh P. Hauxhurst, FBI assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit division.
Police said Taqi used an accelerant to set the fire. The FBI is investigating why he targeted the Al-Huda Islamic Association.
“Based on the evidence collected, interviews conducted to date and law enforcement reports of prior contacts with Taqi, there is no indication Taqi was politically or ideologically motivated and no indication he was acting as part of a group,” Hauxhurst said.
Dearborn police said in the past few years, they have received several 911 calls about Taqi. There were concerns about his mental health and he had been hospitalized.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who plans to run for reelection in a newly created district that includes Dearborn, said the mosque is a house of worship and a place of peace.
“When I saw the images of the doorway to the women’s section, all I could think about was that was the section my mother and the kids would be going through,” Tlaib said.
One week after the fire, Islamic leaders, law enforcement and the Dearborn community got together in a show of solidarity on Saturday.
“We’re all here together, Shiite, Sunni, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and non-Muslim, that’s what we want to demonstrate today,” said Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud.
Dearborn police say Taqi did not have a concealed pistol license. It’s unclear if the gun belonged to him or how he was able to access the weapon.
Anyone with information asked to call the Dearborn Police Department or the FBI.
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