LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A hate crime arrest has been made in Livingston Parish.
"There are a lot of layers to this case. It's a bizarre one that started on February 27, 2018. That night on the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office Facebook page, we posted images from surveillance footage. Those images were from inside a convenience store located in the 11000 block of LA Hwy. 1019. We were trying to identify the individual because he claimed to be law enforcement," said Sheriff Jason Ard. "He said he suspected drug activity and would return to the store to do a search. He left in a white pickup truck. We did not believe that he had any current ties to law enforcement."
"On March 3, 2018, we received a call from a witness. The witness tells us that a man in a white truck drove into this same convenience store. We also learned from this witness that the driver of that pickup took the store's ATM machine. When the witness attempted to intervene, the suspect produced a handgun and fled the scene," said Ard.
Investigators then learned there was more to the bizarre story.
"He talked to deputies, but his version of events did not match up to surveillance footage and witness statements. For one, he told deputies that he was a sheriff's deputy and produced an East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office commission card. We learned that the suspect was a former Reserve with EBRSO, but has no current ties to the agency. The suspect did admit to us that he purposefully caused damage to the store. According to him, he was under the impression the owners were Muslim. He 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," said Ard.
Deputies identified the suspect as Chad Horsley, 27, of Denham Springs, and searched his home, locating the white pickup truck parked in a garage. Officials with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office say the license plate was purposefully removed from the truck. Investigators estimate the damage done to the store totals about $4,000.
Horsley was arrested and booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on the following charges:
- Hate crimes
- Simple criminal damage to property
- Criminal mischief
- False personation of a peace officer (2 counts)
Horsley was released from jail on Monday, March 5 after posting a $56,000 bond.
The investigation is ongoing.