Couple allegedly threatened because they are Muslim demand charg - KMOV.com

Couple allegedly threatened because they are Muslim demand charges be filed

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Leonard Debello allegedly threatened a Muslim family with a gun because of their religious beliefs Credit: KMOV Leonard Debello allegedly threatened a Muslim family with a gun because of their religious beliefs Credit: KMOV
AFFTON (KMOV.com) -

A family that says it was threatened of its religion spoke about the incident Monday.

Rabie Ayoub and his wife Marwah were house hunting in an Affton subdivision Sunday morning when they were allegedly threatened by a nearby resident Leonard Debello, who was holding a gun. The couple says Debello clearly made the threats because they are Muslims.

Both Rabie and Marwah were surrounded by local Islamic leaders at a press conference Monday calling for charges in the case. Debello was arrested, but later released. He is not currently facing charges.

“This crime was not done against this family, this crime was also done against all American Muslims,” said Faizan Syed with the Council on American Islamic Relations in St. Louis.

Debello, who served in the Vietnam War, told News 4 he suffers from PTSD and forgot to take his medication Sunday, but did not discuss the incident on camera. However, he said he regretted the encounter.  His attorney told News 4 he wrote an apology.

“He wasn’t sorry when he pulled the gun, he wasn’t thinking about it. He was ready to shoot. If he shot me, my wife or kids, what’s his apology going to do,” said Rabie Ayoub. “It makes me feel so scared for my kids’ safety. We came from Iraq escaping war. What I went through seeking safety for our kids, we don’t want them going through that.”

The St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office said the case is under advisement and it is seeking more information. 

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