Mufid Fawaz Alkhader, 28, appeared in court on Dec. 8 facing charges of illegally possessing a firearm. The prior day, hours before Chanukah began, he fired a shotgun in the air twice outside of Temple Israel, a Conservative synagogue in Albany, N.Y.
“As an unlawful user of a controlled substance (marijuana),” the Schenectady, N.Y. resident “was prohibited under federal law from possessing the shotgun,” according to a release from the U.S. attorney for the northern district of New York, the Albany police chief and the special agents in charge of the New York field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and of the FBI.
The charges are allegations that have not yet been tried, the release noted.
On Monday, the same entities stated in another release that there was a new charge—”conspiracy to make a false statement during the purchase of a firearm”—against Alkhader.
“Alkhader, believing he was potentially ineligible to purchase a firearm due to a prior order of protection or restraining order, obtained the shotgun about a month ago by giving a friend money to purchase it for him,” per the release. “On Nov. 5, 2023, the friend purchased the shotgun for $599.99 at a licensed firearms dealer in Albany County and then gave it to Alkhader.”
“The friend lied on an ATF Form 4473 when he checked the box ‘Yes’ in response to a question asking him, in sum and substance, if he was buying the firearm for himself and warning him that it was a federal crime to buy a firearm, from a licensed firearms dealer, for another person,” the officials added.
Alkhader faces up to 20 years in jail and up to $250,000 in fines.
The suspect allegedly yelled “Free Palestine” at or near the scene of the shooting.