RICHMOND, Ind. (Feb. 25, 2015) – Investigators say they are developing specific leads in a Richmond case that appears to be racially motivated. But the lead detective on the case did not want to say what those leads are. Richmond Police Department and Richmond Fire Department were dispatched shortly after 5 a.m. Tuesday to Sandbridge Drive after receiving a report of a burning vehicle.
When they arrived at the scene, officials found a vehicle burning in the home’s driveway and a racist message on the home’s two garage doors. The homeowner said the messages said “Move n—r doctor,” which apparently refers to his wife, who is a doctor. A second message simply said “KKK.”
Richmond Police deferred the case to the Indiana State Police. RPD Chief Kris Wolski said his department contacted Indiana State Police (ISP) because of its expertise in crimes possibly motivated by race. Wolski also noted any evidence collected from the burned vehicle would be sent to ISP labs for processing.
The homeowner, who lives in the house with his wife and two children, said he was not aware of anyone who would do such a thing.
A state police detective was back at the house Wednesday afternoon. Although he would not comment specifically, he said he was developing specific leads to follow up on. Those leads would determine if the case would eventually be classified as a hate crime. He also said he was in communication with the FBI, but federal investigators were not actively involved in the investigation as of Wednesday afternoon.
The suspicious vehicle fire and racial implications of the messages were unsettling to neighbors in the upscale Richmond subdivision.
“It’s very sad," said Lesley Leavell. “We know that there’s racism around. Unfortunately, you do know that, but you don’t expect it.”
“It makes me sick,” said Paul Bisker. “I’m hoping they find out who did this and prosecute them to the utmost of the law. Because this is just terrible.”