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Police say they are treating a shooting that took place near the University of Minnesota early Wednesday morning as a hate crime.
Officers responded to reports of shots fired near the corner of 14th Avenue SE and 6th Street SE around 2:30 a.m.
Shortly after the call came in, police were alerted to two people that had shown up at University of Minnesota Hospital with gunshot wounds. The men had driven themselves to the hospital. Both were shot in the leg.
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota, the young men were targets because of their religion.
"I think it was 'F Muslims' and then the gentleman was trying to antagonize the youth to respond because he wanted altercation or confrontation," CAIR Minnesota executive director Jaylani Hussein said.
Hussein said the five young men, who according to a police report range in age from 19 to 24, were on their way to the mosque to pray as part of Ramadan. Hussein said they were wearing traditional robes.
"It wasn't a case of misunderstanding or a situation where someone felt threatened. It was an obvious attempt on their lives," Muslim youth leader Burhan Mohumed said.
Mohumed said the five men had just finished playing basketball at a Dinkytown apartment, and were getting ready to drive away when the suspect approached. He says the man leaned on the car as he spouted anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Feeling threatened, Mohumed said two of the men got out of the car. It was then that the man pulled out a gun. The two men on foot started to run, while the car pulled away. As they drove off, the man fired at the car, injuring two inside.
Police say they don't have any suspects in custody. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the anonymous tip line at 612-692-TIPS.