A Muslim man who was gunned down in the parking lot of a Home Depot store in Sacramento, California, was targeted because of his religion, according to authorities.
Detectives have named Jeffrey Michael Caylor, 44, as the shooting suspect. Caylor is currently in custody on unrelated charges and will face a charge of murder for this incident upon his extradition to Sacramento County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.
Detectives believe Caylor’s stalked and killed Hassan Alawsi, 46, at a Home Depot store on March 16 because he had a “severe hatred” of people of Middle Eastern descent. Caylor allegedly told relatives he hated Muslim people because of a business dispute. “It seems he has a dislike for what he describes as a Muslim community,” Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Jim Barnes said.
Caylor was previously convicted of attempted murder in 1992.
Alawsi was politically conservative, and a fan of both George W. Bush and Sarah Palin, according to his Facebook page. Alawsi studied art history at the University of Baghdad in Iraq before fleeing to the United States.
“He shared the beauty of humanity through his art and wanted to make a difference,” his sister, Sajidah Alawsi, told the Sacramento Bee. “He loved the peace and freedom in the United States, and drew a picture of U.S. soldiers coming back home from the war and hugging their families.”
Alawsi’s family will be returning to Iraq to bury Hassan’s body. “After what’s happened, we are not sure if we will come back here,” his sister said. “I still believe America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, but I was shocked and lost my mind when I saw my brother’s body.”