Judge sets $250K bail for man in ‘textbook’ hate crime case on North Side

Shahid Hussain | CPD

A Niles man who’s on parole was ordered on $250,000 bail Tuesday in connection with a series of anti-Semitic incidents in the West Ridge neighborhood over the weekend.

Cook County Associated Judge Barbara Dawkins noted that hate crime charges are rarely brought and are difficult to prove, but the allegations against 38-year-old Shahid Hussain are “textbook.”

Hussain “invoked fear in this group of people who are minding their business,” Dawkins said during the afternoon bond hearing.

Prosecutors charged Hussain with four counts of felony hate crime as well as defacement of property and criminal damage charges for a series of incidents on January 29 and 30.

In one incident, Hussain stood outside Yeshivas Meor Hatorah of Chicago, 3635 West Devon, and yelled about Jews while breaking lights, using his hands to gesture like he was shooting a shotgun, and making a Nazi-like salute around 6:51 a.m. Saturday, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Video showed Hussain breaking other lights in the area while wearing a red hat and cape, two items that he would allegedly wear during later incidents, Murphy continued.

About 15 minutes later, another resident saw Hussain walking down the street threatening to “get the Jews” and saying he would break all the windows of every synagogue, Murphy said. The resident identified Hussain in a photo line-up and surveillance images from the earlier incident.

Hussain posted “admissions” to the incidents on Facebook and included photographs of himself performing a Nazi salute with a mustache similar to Adolph Hitler’s, Murphy alleged. Later, Hussain posted that the Schutzstaffel was coming for U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Murphy said.

Around 3:21 a.m. Sunday, a witness saw Hussain yelling loudly about what time Shabbat began as he walked outside Congregation KINS of West Rogers Park, 2800 West North Shore, Murphy said. She recorded video of the man wearing a cape and red hat as he walked into a vestibule, where another camera captured images of him breaking the glass.

Later, around 4:39 p.m., a driver called 911 after he allegedly saw Hussain pull yellow spray paint out of a bag and use it to draw swastikas on trailers outside Jewish institutions on the 2900 block of West Devon. Murphy said those incidents were captured on video.

Police arrested Hussain at 6:12 p.m. Sunday near the 6300 block of North Albany after a 911 caller reported that a man was yelling about bombing and burning synagogues, according to Murphy and CPD records. Hussain was wearing a cape with a red hat, and he had a bag with yellow spraypaint inside, Murphy alleged. He said Hussain admitted to the crimes.

Police are still investigating to determine if Hussain is responsible for breaking the windows of a kosher food store and a Jewish bakery, both on the 2900 block of West Devon, on the night of January 28 into the morning of January 29, Murphy said.

Hussain is on parole for forgery and on supervision for stalking and violating a no-contact order. He has previous felony convictions for burglary and DUI, according to Murphy.

Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber said he lives in Niles with his mother and has two children, ages 3- and 1-year-old. Farber said Hussain appears to suffer from mental health conditions.

In addition to the bail that Judge Dawkins set in the new case, Hussain will be held without bail at the request of the Illinois Department of Corrections, which is reviewing his parole status in light of the allegations.

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