A white couple is accused of shooting and stabbing to death a Black Navy veteran at a California petrol station.
Christine Garner, 42, and Jeremy Jones, 49, were arrested and charged with the murder of Justin Peoples, 30, the following day, March 15.
While the motive for killing Peoples remains unknown, the San Joaquin County prosecutor’s office noted Jones’ white nationalist tattoos.
Investigators found in a complaint filed three days after the tragic crime that Garner shot Peoples as Jones stabbed him. Additionally, the prosecutors found that the conduct was committed on the basis of “[Person’s] race, colour, religion, nationality, or country of origin.”
A third individual, Christopher Dimenco, 58, who was charged with accessory to murder, aided the suspected white nationalists. Dimenco is charged with assisting Garner and Jones in “eluding or evading” arrest.
“When members of our community become victims of hate crimes, we will use all available tools to bring those guilty to justice,” Tracy Police Chief Sekou Millington stated in a press statement.
“Hate has no place in Tracy or anywhere else,” he concluded.
Peoples’ family has been crushed by the news of his passing. Berniece Bass, People’s aunt, observed, “It makes no difference what colour you are. Others are black, some are brown, and some are fair skinned….we come in many hues, but we recognise that the human race is the most important colour to fight for.”
Maurice Peoples, Peoples’ father, told CBS San Francisco that his son was “simply a fantastic young guy,” a father of two who served his nation.
Garner and Jones are being kept in custody pending their April 4 arraignment hearing.