Daytona Beach, FL - An Orange City teenager was arrested and now faces enhanced hate crime charges after a prejudicially charged attack on another teen.
The attack happened on Friday (March 4) at the SMA Healthcare facility on Tiger Bay Road near the Volusia County Jail. Deputies say surveillance footage shows the charged teen say something to the victim, who was sitting down, before he walked over and started to punch him. The teen climbed onto the victim and punched him multiple times before staff separated the two of them.
The victim told a deputy he is continuously called a slur used against gay people—deputies did not specify—by the defendant. The suspect then accused him of snitching on him, which is when the attack took place, only after using the same slur. The victim’s injuries included an eye that was almost swollen shut, abrasions to his face and a possible arm injury. He was taken to the hospital by his father for further evaluation.
According to a report from the Volusia Sheriff’s Office, deputies determined the attack to be a hate crime, landing the defendant an enhanced felony battery charge. He was also charged with violating his probation from a previous arrest for battery. He now remains in secure custody at the Department of Juvenile Detention. The teen's identity has not been released by investigators.
In the past year, the VSO has dealt with a number of other cases that involved enhanced charges due to evidence of prejudice.
One of those cases includes the June 2021 arrest of a 21-year-old man who yelled racial slurs and pointed a gun at a family driving through the DeLand area. Just a month later, another man was arrested after he followed a family home and threatened to kill them while yelling racial slurs. Another incident involves the January 2022 arrest of a 58-year-old man who used racial slurs in an unprovoked attack on an occupied vehicle at an Osteen-area gas station.