Trending Topics

White Couple Who Mowed Down, Killed Black Teen with Car Face Hate Crime Charges


Russell Courtier (left), Larnell Bruce Jr. (middle) and Colleen Hunt (right)

The white couple accused of mowing down and killing a Black teen in Oregon last month are facing new hate crime charges, authorities say.

According to the Associated Press, Russell Orlando Courtier, 38, pleaded not guilty to charges of first- and second-degree intimidation Tuesday in the Aug. 10 death of Larnell Malik Bruce, 19. Colleen Hunt, Courtier’s girlfriend and passenger at the time of the deadly incident, also pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree intimidation.

It’s believed that the couple targeted Bruce because of his race. The Portland Mercury also uncovered a link between Courtier and known white supremacist prison gang European Kindred.

The couple wasn’t initially charged with a hate crime because police hadn’t gathered enough evidence to prove so. AP reports that further investigation, witness testimony and input from white supremacy experts led a grand jury to re-indict Courier and Hunt on Monday.

“Anything like this, we have to be very careful in looking at motive before we just assume something that may seem very clear to other people,” said Officer John Rasmussen, a spokesman for the Gresham police. “We have to be sure to tie it in correctly to where it could withstand a court trial.”

The late-night encounter between Bruce and the Oregon couple proved fatal when the teen and Courtier got into a fight outside a 7-Eleven convenience store. Harsh words and blows were exchanged, as Courtier slammed Bruce’s head against the store’s front window, cracking it. According to court documents, Hunt could be heard egging her boyfriend on: “Get him, baby! Get him, baby!”

That’s when the teen brandished a machete and the couple retreated back into their red Jeep Wrangler. But the fight didn’t end there.

The Portland Mercury reports that Courtier and Hunt chased the teen around the parking lot with their car, barely missing him as he zig-zagged onto the sidewalk and fled into the street. Court affidavits state that the couple then chased Bruce “across oncoming lanes of traffic and intentionally struck him with the front of the vehicle.”

Soon after, a responding officer found the teen lying in the middle of the road with blood streaming from his head and ears. Bruce succumbed to his injuries three days later.

“He was way too young to go,” Bruce’s dad, Larnell Bruce Sr., told OregonLive. “I wish that on no one.”

The elder Bruce also expressed sadness over seeing his son die at the hands of people who just couldn’t control their hate and racist ways.

“People allow it in their backyards, and they close their eyes to it,” he said. “They turn their backs to it because they don’t think it affects them. They live under its privilege. That’s why it lives and breathes in America.”

It’s still unclear what prompted the altercation between the two men that night.


Back to top