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Sex offender arrested after threatening to ‘shoot and bomb’ Middle Eastern people in California park, authorities say | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

A sex offender was arrested Monday on two felonies and a hate crime charge after allegedly yelling racial slurs and threatening to “shoot and bomb” people of Middle Eastern descent at a California park the night before, authorities said.

According to 911 callers, Robert Avery, 33, who is white, allegedly yelled racial slurs at “park goers of Middle Eastern descent” and threatened to “shoot and bomb” them at Heron Landing Park in Rancho Cordova on Sunday night, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. Rancho Cordova is about 15 miles east of Sacramento.

Avery also allegedly tried to run people over at the park with a 2012 Honda Insight, the sheriff’s office said.

Video obtained by NBC affiliate KCRA of Sacramento appears to show someone driving erratically through a park area as bystanders scream in the background. KCRA reported that the people Avery allegedly targeted were Muslim.

No one was injured, according to the sheriff’s office, which added that “witness accounts, video footage, and other evidence” led them to identify Avery as the suspect in the case.

According to California’s online sex offender registry, Avery previously annoyed or molested a child under 18. It is unclear if he served time in jail for that offense.

Authorities arrested Avery, a resident of Orangevale, a census-designated place about 10 miles northeast of Rancho Cordova, on Monday morning, according to the sheriff’s office.

Amar Gandhi of the sheriff’s office told KCRA that Avery turned himself in “with the aid of his family” about 12 hours after the incident, after the sheriff’s office had publicly identified him as the suspect in the case.

Avery was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail shortly after noon on Monday, and is being held on $125,000 bail, online jail records show. He is facing a misdemeanor hate crime charge and two felonies — assault with a deadly weapon and making a criminal threat — jail records show.

It was not immediately clear how much prison time he could face if convicted on the charges or whether he has a lawyer representing him. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

A representative for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request to provide the incident report.

Avery is next due in court Wednesday afternoon.

Omar Altamimi, the policy and advocacy coordinator with the Sacramento Valley/Central California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil rights and advocacy group, told KCRA that the experience was both disheartening and unsurprising.

“Hate crimes have been on the rise, we’ve been telling people to be safe, be careful, but it’s really scary whenever it happens,” Altamimi said.

Federal data shows that there were more than 130 anti-Islamic incidents reported to law enforcement as hate crimes in 2021, the most recent year for which data is available, and that white people were the perpetrators in the majority of the incidents.

In California, hate crime reports increased about 20% from 2021, when 1,763 incidents were reported, to 2022, when 2,120 incidents were reported, the state Attorney General’s Office announced in June. Anti-Islamic bias crimes in the state rose from 18 in 2021 to 25 in 2022, that report stated.

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