DeLand, FL - A 21-year-old DeLeon Springs man is being held without bond after Volusia Sheriff's (VSO) deputies say he pulled out a handgun and stated: “I will kill you (N-words)” after pulling up next to a Black family at a stoplight. Nicholas Gordon is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, child abuse, and carrying a concealed firearm after it was discovered he didn’t possess a valid concealed weapons permit. Because the case is classified as a hate crime, the charges are enhanced.
“This type of behavior will not be tolerated in Volusia County,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Tuesday. “I want everyone to know this Sheriff’s Office will do everything possible to track down and arrest anyone who commits such an abhorrent act of hate in this community.”
The incident happened Sunday (June 27) afternoon. The victims, a mother, father, and two children under the age of 12 reported that they were threatened on Spring Garden Avenue (State Road 15A) at the intersection of Glenwood Road. The victims said a 4-door yellow hatchback carrying four people pulled up next to them where a man later identified as Gordon pulled out a gun and yelled racial obscenities at them. The family tried to get away but the suspect vehicle kept after them, catching up at International Speedway Boulevard. This time, the driver stepped out and yelled more obscenities at them before getting back in, turning around, and fleeing northbound.
The victims reported the incident to VSO. Detectives worked to identify the suspect vehicle, finding it on video surveillance footage from a business on 15A between Glenwood and ISB. On the video, they saw the victims’ vehicle heading south on 15A, with the yellow suspect vehicle, a yellow Chevrolet Spark, following close behind. About 2 minutes later, the video showed the suspect vehicle speeding northbound up 15A.
Photos of the suspect vehicle were put out to all patrol deputies and on Monday evening a deputy spotted it, again traveling northbound on 15A. The deputy conducted a traffic stop, identified Gordon, and told him that the reason for the stop was a recent traffic incident. Gordon's first response was "he hadn't been in town and didn't have any weapons in the vehicle." Later, he admitted there was a gun in his lunchbox and that he thought he knew why he was pulled over: “I think I know what it is. It was that black lady that brake-checked me, and then she started trying to follow me…”
When detectives interviewed Gordon, he denied any involvement in the incident. When they showed him the video, he confirmed that he was the passenger in it. He told investigators that the victim's vehicle backed into his car and then fled the area. Gordon said that he and his friends followed in order to try and exchange information. Detectives examined Gordon’s car and found no visible damage and no report was made to law enforcement about the alleged crash.
When asked why he armed himself during the incident, Gordon said, "it was because he knew (the victims) were African American and he knew from past experiences African Americans can be violent.” Detectives asked what the people did to him, other than being Black, that would make him feel threatened enough to need a gun. According to Gordon’s arrest report, “Nicholas advised nothing.”
“At the conclusion of the investigation, all evidence indicated this incident was clearly just a violent hate crime where the suspect pointed a firearm directly at the victims, a family in their car with children, who were solely targeted for being African American,” detectives wrote in closing.