The white men could face up to 20 years in prison, if convicted on aggravated assault charges
Two white males in rural Mississippi have been arrested and charged with assault after chasing and shooting at two Black teenagers who were riding ATVs on their property, according to local news reports.
Forty-eight-year-old Wade Oscar Twiner and his 22-year-old son Lane Twiner were arrested in late September and each charged with three counts of aggravated assault. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison, KOKI-TV reports.
Deputies from the Yazoo County Sheriff’s Office responded to calls of the father and son chasing the teens in a white Chevrolet pickup truck and shooting at them as they were riding ATVs near their home. Once deputies found the truck and teenagers, the Twiners claimed the teens were driving erratically and speeding.
According to the victims, the Twiners fired shots at them and continued to chase them when they fled. At one point, they also bumped into one of the ATVs with the pickup. No one was hurt in the incident.
The Twiners told deputies that they were trying to apprehend the teeangers, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Twiners reportedly told law enforcement that they own the land that the teens were riding on. A 9mm handgun was recovered by authorities during their arrest on a Sunday night. Both Twiners have reportedly been released on bail.
According to Mississippi state law, off-road vehicles including ATVs are prohibited on public roads or highways. However, there is no penalty for those who violate the statute, The Clarion-Ledger reports.
The sheriff said there were other people riding ATVs near the Twiners’ home on the day of the incident with the teens, but they were not confronted or assaulted by the violent father and son duo.
The sheriff is now looking at their social media posts to determine if the crime was racially motivated.
One now-deleted Facebook post from July reportedly displayed the words “Redneck Neighborhood Watch,” along with a photo of a Confederate flag, according to the sheriff, per US News and World Report. The post captioned “You Loot We Shoot.”
“Wade Oscar Twiner and his son, Lane Twiner, pursued them and tried to stop them and to shoot them and bump them with the four-wheeler, so they were charged with aggravated assault,” Sheriff Jacob Sheriff told WLOX. “We’re still looking at some things on that to see if we can establish a hate crime or not. We’ve got to get with the DA and look at the statutes to say whether that would be a hate crime or not.”
The Sheriff compared the incident to the case of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old Black man who was fatally shot in Georgia by a white father and son who chased him down in their pick-up truck.
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