DELTONA, FL – A Deltona man is facing an assault charge with a hate crime enhancement after he followed another man home after a road rage incident and threatened to kill him and his family while calling them racial slurs.
According to authorities, Volusia Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the incident around 11:45 p.m. Thursday and met with the victim, a 34-year-old Black man, who explained he was driving home about 25 minutes earlier and got into a traffic-related dispute with the suspect over merging. He said the white male suspect followed him about two miles to his home, then got out of his vehicle and approached the house. The victim said the suspect was already making statements about killing his family.
The victim said he lifted his shirt to show a pistol he was lawfully carrying, and while standing on his porch, he warned the suspect not to come any closer. He said the suspect went back to his vehicle yelling out racial slurs, then slowly drove past the residence four times, yelling more slurs and threats to come back and kill the victim’s family.
The victim’s wife witnessed a portion of the incident and the couple’s juvenile daughter was inside the house at the time. Deputies made contact with the suspect, identified as 55-year-old Michael T. Parkinson, at his home after he also reported the incident. He justified his actions in his account and continued to refer to the victim using racial slurs.
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Deputies filed a charging affidavit with the State Attorney’s Office charging Parkinson with assault, a second degree misdemeanor, enhanced and reclassified as a first degree misdemeanor under Florida’s law (F.S.S. 755.085) on crimes committed with prejudice against race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and other factors.
“I’ll say it again: We are not going to tolerate this kind of behavior in Volusia County,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. “In case the message wasn’t clear enough, I want everyone to know this Sheriff’s Office will not give a free pass to racist, bigoted criminal acts that seek to intimidate others out of hatred and ignorance.”
Deputies last filed this type of enhanced charge a couple of weeks ago in a racially motivated assault on a family driving through DeLand. The suspect in that case was arrested on several felony charges.