FBI investigating 17 men shooting guns while chanting “Allah Akbar” in California desert

The FBI has launched an investigation after California Sherriff deputies and an FBI agent detained 17 men who were camping in the Deep Creek Hot Springs last week.

On March 27th, the San Bernardino County Sherriff’s office responded to a 911 caller that reported “more than 100 shots and 5 to 7 subjects wearing turbans were seen in the area shooting assault rifles, handguns, and shotguns,” according to a police statement.

Due to the rural location of the scene a sheriff helicopter was dispatched, locating 17 men walking away from the creek carrying back packs and other items.

Deputies from Apple Valley, Hesperia, and Victorville Police Stations also responded to assist.

The police statement said, “A records check of the subjects, their weapons, and their vehicles was completed. The records check revealed none of the subjects had a criminal history or outstanding warrants, the weapons were registered with the Department of Justice except for the rifle, and the vehicles were also registered.”

The Sherriff’s office said based upon this information all of the men were released but the FBI said it would conduct further interviews to determine if crimes were committed.

After review of the police audio recordings more information – not released in the police statement- was found.

An unidentified officer can be heard saying the men “were up all night chanting ‘Allah Akbar’ type stuff.”

During the recording he also describes the men as, “a large group of subjects wearing turbans and chanting.”

Several hikers were contacted by police, but none of them witnessed the guns being fired.

Anyone with more information is encouraged to call We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or online at www.wetip.com.

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