Couple Charged With Ethnic Intimidation In Alleged Attack, Several Other Suspects Wanted

WEST DEER (KDKA) — Two people are facing charges and authorities are looking for several other suspects after a man was allegedly lured from a bar and attacked in a West Deer home.

Police say they have charged 32-year-old George Palmer and 31-year-old Hope Gorham of Russellton with ethnic intimidation, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, robbery and criminal conspiracy in the early Wednesday morning incident.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim was allegedly approached by Gorham at J.J.’s Country Tavern in New Kensington who asked him if he “wanted to party.”

Two men in a car then picked him up outside, eventually taking him to Palmer’s home in West Deer. But when he got inside, the victim told police a man with a wrench appeared from a closet and confronted him. Several other men also came into the room and ordered him to empty his pockets.

The victim, who said “he is Hispanic but looks black,” told police he was beaten with the wrench, shoved, kneed and kicked. The criminal complaint also says the suspects yelled racial epithets at him.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim said two of the men had their heads shaved, one had an anarchist tattoo and another had a swastika on his abdomen.

The victim also said he heard the suspects say, “We should just kill him,” multiple times. Eventually, the victim was able to get to the front door and ran away. A police officer later spotted him walking down the street injured and without his shoes on.

The victim also lost his jacket, ring and cellphone in the alleged attack and suffered severe injuries to his face. He was taken to Allegheny General Hospital.

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According to the criminal complaint, officers say they are familiar with Palmer and his home. Police say he is known as a “self-proclaimed white supremacist.

Palmer told police he knew “nothing of any type of incident” at his home and he and his girlfriend were about to go to bed. However, police say while interviewing Palmer, they found the victim’s shoe in the front yard.

Police say the victim identified Gorham as “the girl from the bar” from a photo array.

Both Palmer and Gorham are being held in the Allegheny County Jail on $250,000 bond. They have hearings set for next week.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office are also investigating the case.

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