TERRACE RCMP officers are releasing few details yet about a Dec. 3, 2013 assault they suspect is a hate crime.
Four men wearing balaclavas assaulted a lone man walking home from work at 11 p.m. that night on the 3400 Block of Straume near Suwilaawks Community School.
“During the course of this investigation, there were indicators for investigators to suspect that this crime was hate motivated,” said Constable Angela Rabut.
“I cannot get into the specifics of what these indicators are to respect the privacy of the victim and the integrity of the investigation.”
She did say that because all four men were wearing balaclavas, officers suspect the assault was planned.
According to police, the suspects are described as: two were over 6-feet tall, two had smaller builds, all were wearing hoodies, one hoodie was orange, one hoodie was a plain grey non-winter type, and one of the men had big eyes.
According to police, two of the four men punched the victim while the other two stood by and watched.
The victim was knocked to the ground but managed to get back up and escape. He ran out of the north side of the school yard then fled north on Sparks St. and west on Straume Ave. His attackers gave up the chase on Straume.
The victim suffered minor injuries in the assault, police reported.
Rabut said local investigators have been in contact with the RCMP’s provincial hate crime unit.
“The hate crime unit provides support by guidance in these types of investigations. This is their area of expertise. They will review the file, statements, and the overall investigation and help out where needed,” she said.
As defined in the criminal code, a hate or bias crime is “a criminal offence committed against a person or property which is motivated by the suspect’s hate, prejudice or bias against an identifiable group based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor.”
The criminal offence committed in this incident was assault, said Rabut.