17 Middle Eastern men detained for shooting weapons off in California

Seventeen Middle Eastern men detained ‘after shouting “Allahu Akbar-type stuff” and firing weapons in a hiking area’…only to be released when police found no evidence they had committed any crime

  • Seventeen men of Middle Eastern descent were detained early Sunday morning near Deep Creek Hot Springs in Apple Valley, California
  • Police stopped and searched the men after receiving a report that a group was firing off weapons and yelling ‘Allahu Akbar-type stuff’
  • They found the men carrying several handguns, a rifle and a shotgun in their backpacks and all but one of the weapons was registered
  • The one unregistered weapon was still legal though under California law
  • The group was cooperative with police, who eventually let them go because they found no evidence of a crime
  • The FBI is following up on the investigation since the incident took place on federal land

Seventeen men of Middle Eastern descent were detained in southern California on Sunday after a concerned citizen called police, saying they spotted the group chanting and firing off more than 100 rounds of ammunition in a remote hiking area.

But the men were let go when police found no evidence of wrong-doing.

The area where the men were detained is located about an hour’s drive from where husband-and-wife shooters Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik gunned down 14 people in December in the name of the Islamic State.


San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies were first called to the area near Deep Creek Hot Springs in Apple Valley around 8:30am, when a camper in the area called 911 to report the group.

According to police scanner audio obtained by the Victor Valley News,  the camper said ‘a large group of Middle Eastern males in their 20s…were up all night chanting “Allah akbar-type stuff [sic]”‘ and that at one point ‘some of them disappeared and started shooting what sounded like large long-gun-type firearms’.

The camper added the men ‘wearing turbans’ shot off more than 100 rounds.

Police located the group hiking in the area Sunday morning and stopped the men to search their backpacks.


The men – who were cooperative with police – were carrying several handguns, a rifle and a shotgun.

The rifle was the only weapon that was not registered, and the owner said that was because it had been bought in parts. Although it didn’t have a serial number, it was still legal under California law.

After finding no evidence that the men had committed any crimes or had any warrants out for their arrest, police let the men go.

The Victor Valley News also shared pictures of the alleged group as they were being detained, which the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office later confirmed were the detained men to Daily Mail Online.

In a press release about the incident, officers also pointed out that people shoot guns in that particular area ‘all the time’ since it is federal land where recreational shooting is permitted.

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