DA levies hate-crime charges against man accused of running over Sikh man in his car
First Judicial District Attorney Pete Weir on Tuesday filed a hate-crime charge against a man accused of yelling “go back to your country” to a Sikh business owner in April before allegedly running him over in his car, the district attorney’s office said in a news release.
Eric Breeman, 36, already faced 16 counts, including attempted murder, in connection with the April 29 incident at Two Angels liquor store in Lakewood.
Breeman came into the store that night and started knocking over items, before telling Lakhwant Singh, the liquor store owner, to “go back to your country,” family members and an arrest affidavit said. When Singh walked outside to get the license plate number, Breeman allegedly ran him over with his car. Singh sustained multiple broken bones, including a spinal fracture and internal bleeding. Singh was hospitalized until recently and investigators were finally able to interview him in person, the news release said.
As a result, the DA’s office elected to file the additional felony bias-motivated crime charge.
After the attack the Sikh community sent letters and petitions from across the country to the district attorney’s office, demanding Weir file hate-crime charges.
News of the new charge came as a victory to Kanwarbir Singh Sandhu, Gurdwara President at Colorado Singh Sabha.
Many Sikh community members own liquor stores and convenience stores like Singh, Singh Sandu said.
“They were so scared to go to work and they had a fear in their heart,” he said. “Now I think they’re going to be a little more comfortable.”
Throughout the pandemic, the Sikh community has gone out of its way to donate thousands of masks, food to frontline workers and more. But still some face instances of bullying or worse, Singh Sandhu said. He condemned Breemen’s actions and thanked the district attorney for the new charge.
“What happened to Lakhwant, we don’t want to see that happen to anybody in the community,” he said. “Not only Sikhs, not only Christians, we don’t want that to happen to anyone.”
Breemen is being held at the Jefferson County jail on $50,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday.
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