Cary Teen Charged With Ethnic Intimidation, Assault
Posted August 2, 2006 7:05 a.m. EDT
CARY, N.C. — Cary police have charged three teenagers each with one count of ethnic intimidation and one count of simple assault.
Matthew Salvatore Luongo, 16, of Marvista Court, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after surrendering to police for harassing a 15-year-old boy near Lochmere Lake.
Police have filed arrest warrants for two additional suspects, ages 16 and 17.
The three suspects are white; the alleged victim is black.
Authorities said the three teenagers allegedly blared music with racially charged lyrics and verbally and physically taunted the victim, pushing him and telling him to leave the fishing area near the lake since he did not "belong" there. The victim, police said, is a Lochmere resident.
Ethnic intimidation carries a maximum of 150 days in jail; simple assault carries a maximum of 60 days in jail.
Luongo, who Cary police said has a prior record for an April assault, was transported to the Wake County Public Safety Center and was released under $2,500 bond.
A man who answered the door at Luongo's home told WRAL Tuesday evening that the family had no comment.
Some residents in the upscale Lochmere neighborhood said Tuesday night they were surprised by the charges and allegations.
"It's a very tolerant neighborhood, very diverse, people from all over the country," said Greg Buchner, who has lived in the community with his family for seven years.
Cary Police Capt. Dave Wulff said the department takes the alleged behavior very seriously and that authorities want to do everything possible to bring justice to the matter.
"This is not the type of thing you want to see in any community, let alone our community," Wulff said.
Buchner said he hoped the alleged assault was an isolated incident.
"Every community has a few bad apples," he said. "Hopefully, an example will be made and incidents like this won't occur in the future."