A white Oregon couple who admitted to striking a Black teen with their car following a heated confrontation may now face hate crime charges.
According to legal documents obtained by the Huffington Post, 19-year-old Larnell Malik Bruce Jr. was inside a 7 Eleven charging his cell phone on the night of Aug. 10 when 38-year-old white supremacist Russell Courtier and his girlfriend Colleen Hunt arrived at the store. Shortly after the couple entered the store, Bruce and Courtier began to argue and eventually began fighting.
Hunt was heard cheering Courtier on as he slammed the teen’s head into the store window. Police reports say Bruce then pulled out a machete on Courtier, who retreated to his vehicle and began to exit the store parking lot, driving towards Bruce as he walked away. Video surveillance from the incident appears to show Bruce running away from Courtier’s jeep and into traffic as Courtier continued to charge towards him. The video footage did not capture what happened next, however, Courtier later admitted to police that he became angry with Bruce after the machete was pulled and intentionally struck him with his jeep as a result.
Hunt corroborated the story, adding that she saw Bruce roll up onto the hood of the jeep and fall to the ground after being hit with the car.
Police who arrived on the scene in response to a 9-1-1 call from a 7 Eleven employee say they found Bruce lying on the ground near the store with blood streaming from his nose and ears. It was later determined that he suffered a traumatic brain injury after being stuck by the car. Courtier and Hunt have since been indicted on murder charges that will likely include a hate crime charge, given Courtier’s affiliation with the European Kindred street gang. Multnomah County District Attorney Don Rees described the gang as “one of the most feared white supremacist groups in the Pacific Northwest.” The hate-based group is also closely affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Brotherhood.
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The teen’s father described Courtier’s actions “horrific” in an interview with KPTV News shortly after the incident.
“I believe what he [did] was horrific,” Bruce Sr. said of Courtier. “My faith says that the Lord will forgive him. I don’t have to forgive him until the Lord’s taken him. So I don’t have to forgive him until he’s dead. That’s what I want to see ― him dead.” Friends and family described Bruce as a “good kid” who had a hard life.