Police arrest suspect in shooting at San Francisco synagogue
City resident in his 50s in custody after allegedly walking into Schneerson Center, firing several rounds of what investigators believe were blanks
SAN FRANCISCO — Police have arrested a man suspected of firing a gun loaded with blanks inside a San Francisco synagogue.
The man was arrested Friday evening in the Richmond District on suspicion of disturbing a religious assembly, brandishing an imitation firearm and causing another to refrain from engaging in a religious service, police said in a statement.
Dmitri Mishin, 51, of San Francisco was booked into jail shortly before 12:30 a.m. Saturday and was being held without bail, according to a San Francisco Sheriff’s Office website.
It wasn’t immediately known whether he had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Shortly before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Mishin is suspected of walking into the Schneerson Center on Balboa Street, which holds religious services and classes along with social activities for the local Russian Jewish community.
Surveillance video posted without sound by KTVU-TV showed a man wearing a baseball cap, jacket and sneakers entering a room with more than a dozen people at a table. The man made hand gestures before taking out a gun and firing several shots. As an elderly man approached him, he headed to the door, saluted and left.
Mattie Pil, the president of the synagogue, told the San Francisco Chronicle that her husband, Rabbi Bentzion Pil, was sitting at a table with about 25 senior citizens who were at a study session when a man entered.
Asked where he was from, the man said he was from Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. He then pulled out the gun, Mattie Pil said.
The people at the table seemed to remain calm but the rabbi said they were stunned.
“We were shocked,” he said. “No one was expecting it. I was about to go to the kitchen to get a knife… but the whole thing took like 20 seconds.”
No injuries or damage were reported and investigators believe the man used blanks.
A day before that shooting, Mishin is believed to have entered a theater several blocks away on Balboa Street, brandished a gun and fled, police said. No shots were fired in that incident.