Prosecutor: Man charged in Long Island hate crime spree

April 16, 2021 GMT

MANORVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — A New York man who authorities say went on a hate crime spree targeting people based on their religion and sexual orientation has been indicted on 36 criminal charges, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini announced Friday.

Christopher Keller, 36, of Manorville on Long Island, terrorized numerous people in 2020, shooting at homes and businesses and sending harassing messages via phone and social media that were anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ, Sini said. No one was injured, but the crimes “terrorized” many community members, he said.

Keller was arraigned on the indictment Friday before a Suffolk County judge. He was released on the same $300,000 bond that he posted after his initial arrest in February.

A message seeking comment was left for Keller’s lawyer, Glenn Obedin, on Friday evening. Contact information for Keller could not immediately be found.

In court, Obedin said Keller has no previous criminal record and works as an engineer, Newsday reported. He did not specifically address the charges.

“These are allegations against my client,” Obedin said. “There may be some truth to some of the allegations. There may be no truth to any of the allegations. The point is, that criminal cases are not decided or determined at the time of arraignment simply based on the district attorney sensationalizing the matter.”

Keller is charged with hate crimes, gun crimes, aggravated harassment, menacing and numerous other crimes. Police said they seized several firearms and large-capacity ammunition magazines from his home.

Sini said some of the charges are related to five shootings in Suffolk County last year, including ones involving a home, several businesses and vehicles. Prosecutors allege Keller also sent victims messages that included anti-Semitic rhetoric, Holocaust imagery, death threats and violent pornographic images.

Keller is due back in court on May 3.