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Were Rossmoor 'Acid Bombs' a Hate Crime?

Sheriff's investigators see no evidence the crime was racially motivated. But Orange County Human Relations considers it a possibility.

Sheriff’s officials say there is no reason to believe the placement of acid bombs on a Rossmoor woman’s lawn Sunday was a hate crime.

The victim isn’t so sure.

Rusty Kennedy, executive director of Orange County Human Relations, said his organization was considering the possibility of a hate crime because the victim is an African-American who felt the incident may have been racially motivated.

“Although we have not made a final judgment, we are moved by the fact that the victim feels she was targeted because she was black,” Kennedy said. “In the realm of hate crime, the final judgment is determined by a judge, when perpetrators are caught and motive is proved.”

The woman called law enforcement shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday to report she had found the items near the driveway of her residence the 3000 block of
Mainway Drive.

Investigator Kent McBride of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said one of the items exploded while the woman was on the phone with authorities.

When authorities arrived, the other items on the property had not exploded, and they were later disabled by a bomb squad, McBride said. There were no injuries, and no one was arrested.

Acid bombs are capable of ripping apart the hand of someone holding them, and the noise can rupture eardrums, McBride said.

“There's nothing to indicate that it's a hate crime,” said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, noting the victim is black. “We're taking it very seriously. Acid bombs are dangerous.”

One of the devices was found in a tree in a park across the street from the victim's home, Amormino said. The devices may have been part of a prank, he said.

Since many incidents do not lead to arrests, “We do our best to judge with the information we have, and one factor is the perception of the victims,” Kennedy said.

The victim told KCAL9, “I think that a prank would have been something like toilet papering a house or maybe egg on a window. I think you cross the line from it being a prank when you have the potential to hurt people.”

The victim said her sense of security in Rossmoor has been affected.

“We chose this community because it was safe,” she said. “This situation has definitely taken that security away from us.”

-- City News Service

Franklin December 06, 2012 at 07:46 AM
This should be considered a hate crime based on the bare facts and the perpetrators once found charged accordingly. This should not be considered a 'prank'. There's nothing a 'prank' about leaving acid loaded bottles on a property! The sheriff and authorities need to get serious about this event.
Francis December 06, 2012 at 07:47 AM
This should be considered a hate crime based on the bare facts and the perpetrators once found charged accordingly. This should not be considered a 'prank'. There's nothing a 'prank' about leaving acid loaded bottles on a property! The sheriff and authorities need to get serious about this event.
David & Rebecca Lara December 06, 2012 at 01:05 PM
FROM L.A. TIMES: "The commission — which has published a regular report on hate crime in the county since 1991 — said African Americans have been the most targeted victims of hate crimes, despite making up only a small portion of the population. Even as Orange County becomes increasingly diverse, African Americans make up just 2% of its population. The commission said its most recently published report, covering 2011, showed an uptick in crimes against African Americans. One recently publicized case was that of a Yorba Linda family who fled their home in October after enduring years of taunts, slurs and vandalism. Vandals smashed their windows and slashed the tires of their cars, and the family — which included an Inglewood police officer and L.A. County sheriff's deputy — said the final straw was when someone fired acid pellets into their garage. They'd been in the neighborhood for two years."
Kathleen December 06, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I find this article interesting in that when I spoke with my friend, the victim, on Monday night she didn't think it was a hate crime and hoped it was not. I agree that we have to consider this possibility especially since she is in the minority in that neighborhood. Since I posted the story on Facebook I have found out this has happened to at least 3-4 other people in my neighborhood (near Rossmoor). The only link between them all is that there are teenagers living in all the homes. Either way, we need to figure out who is doing this and find justice.
Al Gore December 06, 2012 at 06:02 PM
I think the name "Hate crime" should be changed to "A--hole crime" and once a person has been convicted of this crime, they should be made to carry the title "Convicted A--hole" for the rest of their life.
Carmelcat December 06, 2012 at 07:04 PM
OMG, were none of you dumb teenagers? Yes, catch the kids and read them the riot act, make them deliver an apology to the victim and pay some clean-up chore to the community ... as any good parent should do. But keep your perspective on the abundance of teen-brain deficits. Character and citizenship is built ... by a parent and a village.
Sachi M December 06, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I think the facts indicate a hate crime. I find it odd that only a house where a single African American woman and her child live was targeted. THEN I found out that someone is ringing her doorbell at 3am in the morning and disappearing before anyone can see who is doing this. Why can't the Sheriff send out an unmarked car for surveillance?? You would HATE to think this IS a hate crime....but all the facts are there. Why does law enforcement always have to wait until someone is either injured or killed??? I do find it appalling that it seems like the incident is not being taken very seriously...I mean...maybe it is...the Sheriff's department says so...but they are not acting like it!
David & Rebecca Lara December 06, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Dear Kathleen: We spoke directly to Terri, your friend. She stated to us that she was in shock when this first happened. Understandably, having a acid bomb go off on your driveway would shake anyone's nerves. She also checked with her neighbors and found no one else had their door bell rang at 2:00 in the morning prior to this incident. She did have a garage sale and was out in front of her home greeting the public. The very next day, she discovered the acid bombs left by her car in an upright position. Had Terri touched the bombs most likely it would have critically injured her hand or worse. As to your finding 3-4 people, please have them come forward so tha I may interview them. We heard this story from an RHA Member. What I find interesting is that I check the Sheriff Blotter every day and have been doing this for approximately the last 6 months. In review of the Sheriff Blotter, I have never seen "acid bombs left on Rossmoor resident's property". Please note the definition for a "prank" is a joke. An acid bomb is no joke for the propensity of bodily harm it can cause. Again, if anyone wishes to come forward with their "acid bomb" story, we will be more than happy to interview and publish.
JB December 07, 2012 at 04:35 PM
What facts indicate it is a hate crime? Because she is African American, and the only person targeted in this incident? That is not a logical conclusion. There could be a thousand different reasons why this occurred, but to say it was a hate crime because the person is African American is foolish. I live in Rossmoor with an African American neighbor, they weren't targeted, so based on your correlation then it's not a hate crime. That too makes about as much since as the conclusion that this incident was a hate crime. Please don't push hate crime tag without substantial facts. If a racially motivated note was left, or something similar then yes your can say hate crime, but without any evidence it does more damage than good to assume....
David & Rebecca Lara December 07, 2012 at 07:14 PM
JB, you did not interview the witness. Read above. Your correlation is conclusionary. We did interview the witness. We do not enjoy pushing the "Race Card" but here it is totally applicable. We are grateful that your African American neighbor did not have a garage sale, greeting the public and the next day had acid bombs on their property. There is substantial evidence.
David & Rebecca Lara December 07, 2012 at 07:21 PM
The subject of whether it is a hate crime or prank has really clouded the main issue. The Sheriff's department labeled this crime as a "prank". A prank is TP your neighbor's house. An acid bomb does not fit into the catagory of a prank where it has the potential to cause great bodily harm. Whether it is a hate crime or a prank, I take it into consideration the feeling of the victim of the crime. The victim of this crime felt that race was a factor. None of her neighbors were target on this block. The only substantial factor was that she was a minority. If somebody burnt a cross on my front lawn, I am sure the Sheriff and other residents using your analogy would say it was just an illegal fire. Being a minority, who has had a lifetime of experience with discriminatory comments and discrimination, I would personally feel it was a hate crime. I also have 33 years of law enforcement experience. I believe the community should be more concerned with welcoming the victim and letting her know that this incident does not represent the feeling of Rossmoor Residents. We would like her to feel welcomed and a participant in our community.
JB December 08, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Don't get me wrong. I think it was a tragedy avoided. I am glad no one was hurt. My problem with the story is labeling it a hate crime. Can you provide us with the evidence that it may have been a hate crime? Just based on the story I didn't see any evidence that it is a hate crime other than the victim may believe its a hate crime. Why did the victim believe so? Has there been previous racially motivated attacks against her home or family since living in this area? Please elaborate. Thanks!
David & Rebecca Lara December 08, 2012 at 06:59 PM
TO ROSSMOOR ACID BOMBER FELON(S) Be aware that on December 2nd when you placed acid bombs on our Rossmoor Neighbor’s lawn, the Orange County Sheriff Department has now evaluated your acts to be a felony for each acid bomb you placed. Due to the gravity of your crime, if acting with accomplices, you will each be charged with the same crime. It has been a well known common practice, that the first felon to contact law enforcement will be provided an opportunity to negotiate a lesser sentence for the information of all persons committing these felonies. Your crime has now received national publicity which has ensured that the Orange County Sheriff Department will be strongly pursing an arrest in this matter. If you are a juvenile, it is strongly recommended that you inform your parents of your criminal acts between the hours of Saturday evening and Sunday morning. We are sure they would welcome a head start in hiring a criminal specialist. Please note, that a criminal attorney will only represent you with cash in hand. NATIONAL NEWS LINK: http://www.bet.com/news/national/2012/12/06/commentary-were-acid-bombs-in-orange-county-a-racist-attack.html
Sachi M December 08, 2012 at 09:59 PM
To REBECCA AND DAVE.....you GO guys!!! We are lucky to have such advocates in Rossmoor!!! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!!!
RHighlands December 10, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Happened to our house twice in rossmoor highlands a few days earlier. Bent my mailbox the second time. Thought it was a harmless teen idiot at first, but after looking at the discolored wood on my front door and straightening the mailbox, I think more malice than prank was involved.
David & Rebecca Lara December 10, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Please report this to Steven Doan, Captain Orange County Sheriff's Department - North Operations Division, Tel. (714) 647-4559, email: sdoan@ocsd.org He is in charge of the investigation.

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