Texas man pleads guilty to hate crime charges following repair shop killing

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WASHINGTON – A Dallas man pleaded guilty last week to federal hate crime charges following a fatal shooting in 2015 at a car repair shop.

Anthony Paz Torres, 38, pleaded guilty on Thursday to five federal hate crime counts for killing one person and attempting to kill four others during a shooting at Omar’s Wheels and Tires in Dallas, on Dec. 24, 2015. Torres also pleaded guilty to one count of using a firearm to commit the murder. According to documents filed in connection with his guilty plea, Torres’ shooting spree came a few days after he had gone to the business, made anti-Muslim statements and pledged that he would come back. When he returned a few days later, Torres asked customers if they were Muslim and then opened fire on the customers and employees present in the shop. Torres killed one person and attempted to kill four others with his gun.

Torres’ sentencing is set for Jan. 24, 2024. Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, he faces a maximum penalty of up to 37 years in prison, with credit for time served.

“Acts of Islamophobic-violence that cause death and injury have no place in our country and run contrary to our values as Americans,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This defendant is being held accountable for a violent and deadly hate-fueled shooting spree targeting innocent Muslim Americans. The Justice Department is firmly committed to confronting unlawful acts of bias-motivated violence, and stands ready, willing and able to prosecute perpetrators who target victims because of their religion.”

The FBI Dallas Field Office investigated the case, with assistance from the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Trial Attorney Rebekah J. Bailey of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Dana for the Northern District of Texas are prosecuting this case.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.