Police officers in Hemet, California, arrested four white supremacists for their suspected roles in a possibly racially-motivated murder attempt.
Authorities have charged Derek Shane O'Brien, 22, Justin Tyme Hayes, 21, and Darrin Peter Thibault, 24, with attempted murder and gang membership, among other charges. A fourth individual, Crystal Lee McCann, 22, was arrested for witness intimidation and gang membership.
All four are members of the racist skinhead gang C.O.O.R.S. (Comrades of Our Race's Struggle) Family Skins, based in the Big Bear, Inland Empire area, a group which describes itself as a "White Power family/Kindred of Skinheads."
The suspects are accused of beating a 19-year-old Hispanic man in November 2008 at a mobile home park in Hemet in the San Jacinto Valley. The perpetrators allegedly knocked the victim unconscious and then stomped and kicked him in the head. He now resides in a long-term care facility with permanent brain damage.
Authorities suspect that the attack was racially motivated, possibly even a reaction of the election of President Barack Obama. These suspicions stem from comments reportedly posted to the group's Web site, expressing anger over the results of the election, as well as the proximity in time between the attack and the election. The Web site has since been taken down.
Hayes was arrested in November, Thibault and McCann in December, and O'Brien in January 2009.
Local authorities suspect that the gang may have been involved with four other possibly racially-motivated attacks which were also committed in the area around the same time. The investigation is ongoing.