Two men are accused of a racially motivated assault in Vancouver’s Rose Village Sunday in which one of the suspects allegedly attempted to shoot the victim but beat him with the gun when the weapon wouldn’t fire.
Zachery L. Hotchkins, 22, and Robert E. Mitchell IV, 18, both of Vancouver, appeared today in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree assault. Hotchkins also was held on suspicion of malicious harassment, which is a hate crime.
“The victim was called a ‘cracker’ multiple times during the assault,” said Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino.
That’s a racial slur referring to a white person.
The victim was treated at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center on Sunday and released the same day, according to a hospital spokesperson. He received stitches and staples on his face and head and has blurred vision in his left eye from his injuries, Vancouver police Officer Tom Topaum wrote in a court affidavit.
Judge Scott Collier on Thursday held Hotchkins and Mitchell in the Clark County Jail in lieu of $200,000 and $50,000 bail, respectively. He appointed Vancouver attorney Tonya Rulli to defend Hotchkins and Vancouver attorney Bob Vukanovich to defend Mitchell. The men are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges April 24.
The victim, Matthew Boorujuy, 30, was walking his dog at about 4 a.m. in the 1800 block of East 32nd Street, near Washington Elementary School, when the men attacked him, according to court records.
Hotchkins pointed a handgun at Boorujay’s face and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t fire, Gasperino said Thursday.
Instead, Hotchins used the butt end of the firearm to beat Boorujay in the face and back of the head, Topaum wrote. Meanwhile, Mitchell held Boorujay down, the officer wrote. Mitchell also allegedly punched Boorujay in the face.
During the attack, Boorujay was repeatedly called the racial slur, according to court records.
Often referred to as a hate crime, malicious harassment is when a person causes physical injury to a person because of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability, according to state law.
During an interview with Topaum, Hotchkins allegedly confessed to pointing a loaded gun at Boorujay and pulling the trigger. Mitchell was wearing a soft cast on his right hand when Topaum contacted him Wednesday for an interview, court records say. He also admitted to participating in the attack, Topaum wrote.
Boorujay also was a victim in a Sept. 18 assault in Rose Village, according to court records.
Freddie Gonzales Jr., 33, is scheduled to be tried May 12 on a charge of second-degree assault related to that 2013 incident.