Two Florida men are facing enhanced hate crime charges of aggravated assault with a firearm after the Lake County Sheriff’s Office officials accused them of shooting at two biracial children while shouting racial slurs.
According to WFTV, the children, a 16-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister, were walking home from a convenience store where they were getting candy when James Reidnauer, 30, and Brent van Besien, 33, allegedly opened fire at them.
According to authorities, the two men confronted the kids on a trail on property owned by a church. It was a route that the kids use almost daily, Michelle Sabb, the children’s mother (who is white) told the news station
“There is a path behind all of the homes on this road that all the children take to the bus stop,” Sabb explained. “The bus stop is in front of the church over here on Goose Prairie [Road], and that’s the route they take anywhere.”
Reidnauer and van Beisen allegedly fired two shots, one of which was near the girl’s foot, before yelling racial slurs, according to the report.
The children, who were thankfully uninjured, raced home.
“They were screaming, ‘They’re shooting at us. They’re shooting at us,'” Sabb said. “Thank God that they were able to get home, [because] there are a lot of kids [who don’t]. Trayvon [Martin] — he didn’t make it home. What if my son wouldn’t have made it home?”
Deputies claimed that the two men said that they believed the kids were “meth heads” in their 20s or 30s who were trying to break into houses, according to the Orlando Sentinel.