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Teens charged with hate crime after pellet gun incident

Earlier this month, police arrested five teenagers for allegedly shooting a man in New Orleans with a pellet gun while he sat on his porch in the French Quarter. Authorities have charged the teens with a hate-crime, a felony charge for those that were not juveniles. According to the reported victim, a car rolled up in front of his house in the 1100 block of Burgundy Street around 11:30 p.m. The man said that the occupants began shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him before shooting pellet guns at him. He was reportedly struck a number of times, suffering both bruises and cuts from the incident.

After the vehicle drove off, the man called police and reported what he knew. Authorities stopped a vehicle that fit the description and found the teens inside with an air rifle, pistol and a bag of ammunition for both. The teenagers were arrested at this time; three of them were 19, 18 and 17 years old. The other two were juveniles, so their names and ages have not been released. Those who were not juveniles were charged with felony hate crimes, second-degree battery and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. The juveniles were charged with second-degree battery and hate crimes.

An attorney for the 17-year-old said that his client was in the wrong place at the wrong time and did not intend to be involved in a crime. She plays trumpet in a local female ensemble and graduated from St. Mary's Academy High School, a Catholic school for girls. Other defendants in this case may or may not have attorneys at this time. Media reports were uncertain. Regardless, the state law pertaining to hate crimes should be understood. According to the relevant Louisiana statute, a hate crime involves any offense that is committed against an individual because of her or his actual or perceived ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, creed, color, religion, gender, age or race.

Source: New York Daily News, "Five teens arrested in hate-crime pellet-gun shooting of New Orleans man" Nina Golgowski, Sep. 08, 2013

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