A trucker from Colorado Springs, Colorado, accused of stabbing a Black man in Oregon last December has been charged with a hate crime, a federal grand jury has decided.
On Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams of the District of Oregon said Nolan Levi Strauss, a 26-year-old white truck driver, had been indicted for a federal hate crime involving an intent to kill in the unprovoked stabbing of 48-year-old Ronnell Hughes.
According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Hughes arrived at an Arby’s in Ontario, Oregon, during the morning hours of Dec. 21, 2019, to provide documentation for a job application.
As Hughes waited in a seat in the lobby for the manager, Strauss approached him without warning from behind and stabbed him in the neck. Following a struggle, Hughes was able to get away, and employees detained Strauss with a belt.
He told store employees he stabbed Hughes because he “was Black, and I don’t like Black people.”
Hughes underwent emergency surgery in Boise, Idaho, for two lacerations to his neck. He had recently moved to Oregon from North Carolina.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Ontario Police Department.
Police were initially told that two men were involved in a physical altercation when one of them was stabbed and was now, “bleeding everywhere.”
Strauss was a truck driver for May Trucking and had been living in his truck in a nearby parking lot for several days. He was arrested at the scene and told officers he hated Black people and intended to kill Hughes. Strauss was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and had not been taking his medication.
He is set to appear in court on Oct. 19, and faces up to a life sentence in federal prison if convicted.