SAN DIEGO (AP) — Police arrested seven white teens in connection with an attack on five migrant workers that authorities said was racially motivated. A eighth teenager was being sought.
The victims, all men in their 60s, told police that a group of eight to 10 young men fired at them with a BB gun, beat them with pipes and stole money from them July 5 at a migrant workers' camp in northern San Diego.
Authorities labeled it a hate crime because the attackers allegedly yelled "go back to Mexico" and other slurs.
"This was a very brutal, violent, cowardly act," Police Chief David Bejarano said Monday.
One man suffered head injuries and returned to Mexico; the others were treated at a hospital and released, said Capt. David Ramirez.
The teens, ages 14 to 17, were in juvenile custody. Possible charges include assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, and a hate crime enhancement that could add up to four years to sentences, Bejarano said. An eighth suspect, who is 16, had traveled out of state, Ramirez said. Most of the teens arrested Sunday attend Mount Carmel High School in northern San Diego but are not part of any organized gang or racial group, Bejarano said.
While making the arrests, police found a BB gun they believe was used in the attack, Ramirez said. They also confiscated three other air guns, a rifle and pistol that were not connected to the incident, he added.