Anthony Paz Torres, aged 38, admitted his guilt today in federal court for five hate crime charges stemming from a tragic shooting incident at Omar’s Wheels and Tires in Dallas, Texas, on December 24, 2015. Torres also confessed to one count of using a firearm to commit murder.
According to court documents related to his guilty plea, Torres returned to the business a few days after making anti-Muslim statements during a prior visit, where he had vowed to return. On his second visit, Torres inquired about the religion of customers and then proceeded to open fire on both customers and employees inside the establishment, resulting in one fatality and four individuals wounded by gunfire.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division stated, "Acts of violence driven by religious bias that lead to death and injuries have no place in our nation and conflict with American values. This defendant is being held accountable for a violent and deadly hate-motivated shooting spree targeting innocent Muslim Americans. The Justice Department remains dedicated to confronting unlawful acts of prejudice-based violence and stands ready to prosecute those who harm others because of their faith."
U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton for the Northern District of Texas commented, "This defendant specifically targeted a business's employees and customers simply because of their faith. Tragically, his actions resulted in the death of an innocent person and injuries to others. Religious hatred, including anti-Muslim bigotry, has no place in America. When such bigotry turns into violence, we will not hesitate to bring perpetrators to justice."
Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough of the FBI Dallas Field Office added, "The defendant's deliberate targeting of a Muslim-owned business resulted not only in one person's death but also caused physical and emotional harm to everyone present that day. Hate crimes not only harm the victim but also aim to intimidate an entire community. The FBI collaborates with law enforcement partners to investigate hate crimes and deliver justice to victims affected by violence. We will continue to pursue individuals committing violent, hateful acts against any member of our community."
Torres is scheduled to be sentenced on January 24, 2024, and could face a maximum penalty of up to 37 years in prison, with credit for time already served.
The FBI Dallas Field Office led the investigation, with assistance from the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Criminal District Attorney’s Office.