Crime

Man accused of shouting racial slurs at Beaverton teen

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) -- Beaverton police arrested a man after witnesses said he shouted racial slurs at a 17-year-old black girl and threatened to hurt her.

Police said 37-year-old Samuel Harris Corbett was arrested Wednesday on charges of intimidation, menacing, disorderly conduct and harassment after the Monday incident near SW Tualatin Valley Highway and Murray Boulevard.

According to court documents from 2015, Corbett suffers from chronic homelessness and mental health issues.

Authorities said the bystanders kept Corbett away from the teenager, who took shelter in a nearby AM/PM store until police arrived.

Susan Hughes, the manager at the AM/PM, said the man had been in there three times before the incident happened. She said he seemed to be having mental health issues and thought a gas station employee took a bag of his belongings. 

"About 10 or 15 minutes later this poor girl comes walking in and she goes, 'I was just attacked,'" Hughes told KOIN 6 News. "He literally started yelling at her at the top of his lungs and took a swing at her."

Witness Ain Avila, 21, was driving down TV Highway when he heard the screaming over the loud music in his car. Then he saw the man trying to swing at the victim.

"So I mashed it into here, in this parking lot, got out of the car and got him away from her before he pushed her into oncoming traffic," Avila said. 

Avila said the man was cocking his arm and following the girl from the crosswalk nearby.

"He was yelling a bunch of n-words, racial slurs, 'All you guys should die. If I had a switchblade I'd kill you right now,'" Avila said. 

Avila said he didn't think, just saw someone in trouble and jumped to help.

"Plus why was someone being targeted for the color of their skin?" he said. "Racism should have been done like decades ago. Like it's 2018 and we should know racism is alive and well and we should be more open minded." 

After the victim went inside, Avila said he stood outside the store to make sure the man didn't follow the girl in. 

"She was extremely upset and she was [shaking]," Hughes said. "I've never seen anyone shake that much. She's just tiny. She's really tiny, you know, and she had a backpack on and she said she was headed to school." 

A victim's advocate is in contact with the teen and her family.

No attorney for Corbett was listed in court records and it wasn't immediately clear if he had retained one yet. He's lodged at the Washington County Jail.

Beaverton police thanked the community members who stepped in to help the teen.

"This type of crime won't be tolerated in our community, which is evident by the response from our community members," Chief Jim Monger said. "Thank you for standing up against racism."

Avila said he was sure if no one had been around to help, the girl would have been pushed into traffic and could have died. 

"If no one stops and says anything, no one is going to fix the issue," he said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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