Dallas man learns sentence for federal hate crimes in 2015 shooting targeting Muslims

A Dallas man who shot and killed one victim during a mass shooting targeting Muslims in 2015 has been sentenced to 37 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to hate crimes related to the murder, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.

Anthony Paz Torres, 39, pleaded guilty to five federal hate crime counts on Sept. 14, 2023, for killing one person and trying to kill four others at Omar’s Wheels and Tires in Dallas in December 2015. He also pleaded guilty to one count of using a firearm to commit the murder.

Torres admitted that in the days before the shooting he went to the car repair and tire shop, made anti-Muslim statements and said he would be coming back, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. When he returned on Dec. 14, 2015, he asked customers if they were Muslim before being escorted back to his car by an employee.

Torres pulled a gun and fired multiple times at customers and employees, the release states. He told investigators he did it because he believed the victims were Muslim.

A bystander who was sitting in a car at the business, 25-year-old Enrique Garcia-Mendoza, was killed in the shooting.

“As this sentence makes clear, hate crimes fueled by Islamophobia, or by bias of any kind, will be met with the full force of the Justice Department,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in the news release. “No person in this country should have to live in fear because of who they are, what they look like, or how they pray.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the case was “an abhorrent example of how deadly Islamophobia can be in our country” and that the bureau makes civil rights-related investigations one of its highest priorities.

Torres will receive credit for time served in state custody.