An assault on a Bosnian woman in St. Louis, Missouri, is being investigated as a hate crime.
St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson has enlisted the help of the FBI to investigate the incident.
The attack occurred in the early morning when three black men, reportedly in their late teens to early 20s, walked in front of the woman’s car and ordered her to get out of the vehicle. The woman tried to drive around the men but one allegedly pulled a gun and told her to stop.
One of the men struck the woman’s windshield with what police believe may have been a crowbar. The woman was then pulled from the vehicle while another man opened the passenger door and searched her purse, commenting that it was empty, reports St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The victim’s cellphone was thrown to the ground and destroyed.
When the woman was asked by one of the men where she was from, and she responded that she was European, the case for a possible hate crime came to light.
“You’re a (expletive) liar. You’re Bosnian. I should just kill you now,” Dotson said of the woman’s account.
The victim was thrown to the ground and kicked before the men fled the scene. A passer-by told police the woman was found unconscious. She declined to be taken to a hospital for treatment.
“They threatened to do harm to her because she was Bosnian. The fact pattern indicates that whether it was targeted because she was Bosnian or once they found out she was Bosnian the crime continued and accelerated. I was very concerned about it so we’re investigating it as a hate crime,” Dotson said.
FOX 2 spoke with the parents of the victim, their son acted as a translator.
The victim’s mother is distraught over what happened to her daughter.
“She is afraid for her family, for her family’s safety. She is so afraid for her family safety. She doesn’t feel well too since my niece to school,” the victim’s brother translated.
“My dad he is more frightened on what has happened today than the war in Bosnia because you don`t know who is a bad guy and who is good,” the brother added.
This attack has come shortly after another in St. Louis wherein a Bosnian man was killed by three teenagers wielding hammers. Three suspects were arrested.
The Bosnian community called the death of 32-year-old Zemir Begic a hate crime, but authorities claimed there was no evidence to support that belief.
With an attack against another Bosnian in the area, police have now stepped up patrols in the community.