A former sheriff's deputy from Louisiana admitted to deliberately crashing his vehicle into a convenience store after mistaking the owners, who were Sikh, for Muslims.
The Saturday incident happened when 27-year-old Chad Horsley crashed his truck into a Best Stop store.
Horsley admitted that, at the time, he believed the owners of the shop he robbed were Muslim. He told authorities he was upset that Marines like him were dying in the Middle East.
Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said that Horsely “blamed Muslims for killing his fellow service members overseas.”
“He was also upset that Muslims, in his mind, were having an easier time prospering than he was despite his time in the service,” Ard added.
Ard also said that, unfortunately, this hadn't been the former deputy’s only attack on the store.
Before crashing the vehicle into it, he also entered the store pretending to be a law enforcement officer and saying that he suspected that there was drug activity going on in the establishment.
Still, the store’s owners and staff never imagined that Horsley would decide to ram a truck into their storefront.
"We never thought anything like that because everybody comes in, and they are nice," Harjot Singh, the owner’s nephew, said. "This was the first ever incident to happen like that."
Despite the damage caused by the incident, Horsley was released on $56,000 bond after his arrest. He was charged with one count of hate crime, criminal damage to property, criminal mischief, and two counts of impersonating a peace officer.
In addition to exhibiting racism and Islamophobia, Horsley's crime also highlights his flagrant ignorance as he mistook the Sikh store owners for Muslims.
Unfortunately, many similar incidents have been happening across the world lately. And yet, cases of hate-driven attacks are not often seen as serious crimes, as evidenced by the fact that people like Horsley are allowed to wait for their trial while walking free.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Zohra Bensemra