An 18-year-old Guatemalan man in Jupiter, Florida who was on his way to work was bludgeoned to death in a violent robbery, say police, who are pushing to have it classified as a hate crime.
Jupiter police said Onesimo Marcelino Lopez-Ramos was targeted because he was Hispanic.
The day of the incident Lopez-Ramos was with his brother and a friend outside their friend’s house, when five men approached them and wanted to talk. It seemed friendly at first, but the conversation turned and Lopez-Ramos and his friend began running away from the men. One of the suspects bashed a rock at Lopez-Ramos’ head and killed him, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The probable cause report says one of the suspects appeared to be laughing when he said they were hunting for Guatemalans, reports the Sun Sentinel as well as WPTV, an NBC Affiliate in West Palm Beach.
“We have a premeditated crime and you are targeting your victim based on ethnicity in this case and other factors down the road…but in this particular case they specifically targeted the Hispanic community,” said Jupiter Police Chief Frank J. Kitzerow to WPTV.
The Palm Beach Post reports the victim's older brother said the family was in too much pain to talk to reporters.
Kitzerow credits the police’s close ties to the Hispanic community for solving the case in just one week. He said their partnership with the Hispanic residents made them feel comfortable coming forward to discuss what happened.
Suspects, David M. Harris, 19, Jesse Harris, 18, and Austin L. Taggart, also 19, were taken into custody on Friday. Police are pursing first-degree murder and hate crime charges.
All three were denied bond on Sunday.