AURORA, Colo. — Police in suburban Denver say they’re looking for a man who doused two customers with gasoline at a fueling station after confronting them because they were speaking Spanish and “don’t belong here,” according to a department statement.
The man allegedly "looked for a lighter to set them aflame" before smashing the rear window of the victims’ vehicle, taking the keys to their car and leaving, Aurora police said this week.
Police said they were investigating the July 23 incident as a hate crime. No arrest had been made by late Thursday, said police Sgt. Faith Goodrich.
"Detectives are investigating this as a bias-motivated crime and need your help to identify the suspect," the Aurora Police Department said, describing the man as being in his early to mid-20s and as Hispanic or Asian.
Authorities said the incident happened at 11 p.m. at the Rocket Gas Station on Havana Street, a main thoroughfare in the eastern Denver suburb.
Inside the station store, the man confronted the victims after hearing them speak Spanish and “told them they don’t belong here,” department officials said.
He allegedly followed them to their car and used a station pump to douse them with gasoline, according to statements from the victims and witnesses, evidence collected at the scene and surveillance video, Goodrich said.