Black teen’s death considered hate crime

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Authorities believe the death of a 19-year-old man was a hate crime committed by a suspected white supremacist and his girlfriend.

On Monday, a grand jury re-indicted Russell Orlando Courtier and Colleen Hunt with charges of intimidation. Prior to the re-indictment, both were charged the murder of Larnell Bruce, a black teen from Vancouver.

According to the indictment, which was first obtained by KOIN 6 News, Courtier and Hunt acted together and based on “their perception of the race and color of Larnell Burce [did] intentionally cause physical injury to Larnell Bruce.”

Gresham police said Bruce was run down by Courtier on August 10 after a verbal fight turned physical outside a Gresham convenience store near East Burnside and Southeast 188th. Hunt was the passenger inside Courtier’s Jeep.

Courtier is charged with murder, felony hit and run, first-degree and second-degree intimidation. Hunt is charged with the same as Courtier, except she is not charged with second-degree intimidation.

Surveillance video from the 7-Eleven store captured Courtier and Bruce getting into a physical altercation, according to court documents. It’s not known what the fight was about, and police confirmed that neither Bruce nor Courtier knew each other prior to the fight.

Police said Courtier got into his Jeep and started driving towards Bruce who was taking evasive maneuvers on foot in an attempt to escape was being run over. Bruce was hit while on the sidewalk running from the store. Courtier and Hunt fled the scene.

Bruce was found lying in the street with blood coming from his head and ears, according to court documents. He suffered traumatic brain injuries and died 3 days later.

When questioned by detectives, Hunt said she encouraged her Courtier to fight with Bruce by yelling “get him baby, get him,” according to court documents.

Police confirmed that Bruce was armed with a machete during the fight with Courtier.

Courtier told detectives that he “made a conscious decision to drive his vehicle towards and chase the black male [, Bruce],” according to court documents.

Courtier, detectives learned, is a member of the white supremacist group European Kindred. Since 1997, prosecutors in Multnomah, Malheur and Clackamas County have brought forward 8 separate cases against him. The charges vary from unlawful use of a weapon, being a felon in possession of a firearm, supplying contraband, second-degree assault and criminal mischief.

The European Kindred group is a well-established white supremacist prison gang. Members often identify by having “EK” tattooed on their bodies. Gresham police confirm they were able to find a Facebook photo of Courtier with the “EK” tattoo.

Both Courtier and Hunt will be arraigned on Tuesday at the Multnomah County Justice Center.

Nine people testified in person before the grand jury that re-indicted Courtier and Hunt. Three testified by affidavit.

One of the individuals who testified was a deputy with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office who specializes in white supremacy gangs.

Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney David M. Hannon said because the case is a pending criminal matter, he is unable to comment on the re-indictment or the facts presented before the grand jury.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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