A 24-year-old white man was arrested Tuesday and faces ethnic intimidation charges in connection with a hate crime targeting a Black suburban Detroit family who displayed a Black Lives Matter sign in their front window, police said.
Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer announced the arrest at a news conference Wednesday, where he was joined by Mayor James Fouts and by Eddie and Candace Hall, who have been targeted in three incidents this month. Warren is north of Detroit.
The Halls, who are Army veterans,had gunshots fired at their home, their vehicles’ tires slashed, a rock thrown through their front window and racist threats written on their vehicles. A shot was fired through the sign in their front window — a closed fist with the words “Black Lives Matter” written in white against a black background. The suspect was captured on home surveillance video, authorities said.
Dwyer said the suspect confessed to the crimes against the Hall family and to writing the word “pedophile” several times in large letters at a property a few blocks from their home. He will face separate charges in that incident, Dwyer said.
The suspect, whose name was not disclosed, faces nine charges — eight felonies and a misdemeanor. They include three counts of ethnic intimidation. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning. A $3,000 reward was offered in the case Sept. 11.
The suspect was identified after detectives combed the area for witnesses, handed out reward flyers, maintained physical surveillance with officers in plainclothes and in marked units, and worked with the FBI to set up a pole camera in the area, Dwyer said.
A search of his home recovered the clothes, mask and shoes worn during the crimes, Dwyer said, adding that he admitted to using a gun that he had found in his garage.
“It is our hope to quickly bring closure, which I believe we have, to this matter for the victims, the Halls, and let everyone know that hate crimes such as these will not be tolerated in the city of Warren,” Dwyer said.
The Halls said they will not remove the Black Lives Matter sign.
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The mayor said the situation has been a nightmare for the Halls and everyone else in the community, including Warren police.
“In this city, we do not tolerate any type of crime, but particularly racist terrorism,” Fouts said. “And make no mistake about it, this was a racist terrorist.”
At a news conference Sept. 11, Eddie Hall said he had never had any problems with anyone or experienced any hostility in Warren, the city his family has called home for six years.
He said that his teenage daughter and son were terrified and that the family felt violated.
“My only safety place is at home. When I get done with work, I go home to relax, sit by my wife, talk with my kids and have family time,” he said. “I am so upset to where there’s nothing I can do to comfort my family because all of this is going on.”
He said his daughter didn’t even want to be in the house.
Candace Hall said at the Sept. 11 news conference that the family had already forgiven the suspect and simply wanted him to stop terrorizing them and to seek help.
“We pray for you,” Eddie Hall said then.