GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - A man from Donaldsonville faces several charges, including a hate crime charge, after police said he started a fight with a family at a store.
The Gonzales Police Department said that on Friday, a family of Latino descent was shopping at Boots Etc. on Hwy. 30 in Gonzales.
While shopping, the 19-year-old daughter of the family was approached by Robert Ray, 60, of Donaldsonville. Police said Ray told her to “go back to Mexico.”
Police said the daughter went to her mother “visibly upset.” The mother approached Ray, telling him that his comment toward her daughter was “not a nice thing to say.”
Police said Ray pushed the woman to the floor. The teenager’s father, who police said is serving in the Marine Corp., became involved in the discussion. Gonzales authorities reported that Ray hit the man in the the face with his fist and a boot. A fight escalated, causing damage to the rear of the store, according to police.
Ray was arrested and charged with a hate crime, two counts of simple battery and criminal damage to property. He was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail but Judge Marilyn Lambert released Ray on his own recognizance.
Chief of Police Sherman Jackson provided a statement on the incident:
“Not in my city, and not on my watch, will the City of Gonzales Police Department ever tolerate actions taken against people based upon their race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry. Due to the suspect’s statements that escalated this encounter, his comments clearly fall under Louisiana RS 14:107.2.”