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Shooting at mosque in Coachella might be a hate crime, police say

Shooting at mosque is investigated as possible hate crime

Coachella police are investigating a shooting at a mosque early Tuesday as a possible hate crime.

Police said no one was injured in the 5:01 a.m. shooting, but several shots were fired at a vehicle and at the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley mosque in the 84000 block of Avenue 49.

Five shots were fired at the mosque, which has been in Coachella for 16 years, said Riverside Sheriff’s Deputy Armando Munoz.

Four people were inside the mosque at the time of the shooting, but none was hit.

Authorities still don’t have a description of the shooter.

But authorities plan to work together with the mosque’s leader on “any and all leads,” Munoz said.

Soon after the shooting, authorities notified the FBI and the Anti-Defamation League.

The FBI now is reviewing the shooting, but has not launched an official investigation, said Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the agency.

"Any time shots are fired at a house of worship, the FBI should offer its resources to local authorities to help determine whether or not there was a bias motive for the attack," said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Los Angeles.

"Our nation's leaders also need to speak out against the growing level of anti-Muslim sentiment that can lead to such incidents," Ayloush said.

The mosque is near Highway 111 in Coachella.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call Coachella Police Investigator Kenneth Willow at (760) 863-8990.

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

2:50 p.m.: This post was updated to include more information on the investigation.

3:55 p.m.: This post was updated with a statement from the FBI, saying the agency is reviewing the shooting.

This story was originally published at 10:31 a.m.

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