Army medic arrested after rocks, Bible thrown through windows of Colorado mosque

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KKTV) - An Army medic who served in Iraq and Korea is facing charges for allegedly vandalizing a Fort Collins mosque.

Joseph Giaquinto, 35, was arrested Monday, one day after the Islamic Center of Fort Collins reported someone threw rocks and a Bible at the building. His father confirmed his military history.

"He came armed with a screwdriver. Thank God no one was here," the center wrote on Facebook alongside a photo of the screwdriver the suspect discarded outside the building.

The assailant broke three back door glass panels and left a chair hanging out of one of the door handles. The mosque said he never made it inside, but threw the rock and a Bible into the prayer hall before he fled. The incident happened around 4 a.m. Sunday.

The damage prompted the center to cancel religious classes for children and was condemned by local law enforcement and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on authorities to investigate the vandalism as a possible hate crime.

Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto called the crime "unacceptable."

After the arrest, Hutto said he hoped this sent a message to any would-be copycats.

“We will not tolerate acts of hatred in our community, and I hope this arrest sends that message loud and clear. “While the building can be repaired, this incident caused deeper hurt that won’t just go away."

Giaquinto is facing charges of criminal mischief, third-degree trespass and bias motivated crime.

Hundreds gathered at the Islamic Center of Fort Collins Sunday to show solidarity.

The mosque thanked the community for the love they were shown following "the hatred of a few."

"Thanks you Fort Collins. What we have witnessed today by your presence and contact with our center still exemplifies the city we have grown to know and love as citizens, residents and visitors to Colorado and the United States," it posted to its Facebook page.