Local News

Wake Authorites Believe Attack Was A Hate Crime

Posted September 10, 1998

— The Triangle area has had its share of hate crimes. Now, Wake County investigators may have a serious case on their hands. And it is extremely serious, because the lives of a half-dozen people were at risk.

Investigators say what happened at a trailer near the Wake-Harnett County line may have been a hate crime aimed at a Mexican family.

"There are indications there were ethnic overtones as a motive," said Lt. Richard Johnson of the Wake County Sheriff's Department.

As Wake County investigators understand, it was around midnight four months ago, in May, when Jesus Barrera and his family were sleeping in their trailer when a firebomb landed on the front deck.

The six people inside the home, including two children, escaped without injury after the small explosion and subsequent fire.

A neighbor, 17-year-old Scottie Lee Horne, was arrested and charged with six counts of attempted murder and one count of first degree arson. But that may not be all.

"We believe it to be motivated by an ethnic hate crime, and that's under investigation," said Johnson. "Potential charges may be forthcoming, but we're still investigating that."

Barrera's family was very shaken by the firebombing. He says he fears that if he goes on camera, there could be another attack on his family.

Scottie Lee Horne is being held at the Wake County Jail on $1,000,000 bond. He could end up being charged with a hate crime on both the state and federal level.


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