The family of a California Black construction worker wants answers after their loved one was shot several times in what is now being looked at as a potential hate crime.
Bobby Gayle is still recovering, KCRA reported this week, after being shot seven times this month in the town in California’s Central Valley. The incident took place on Oct. 8 while the 45-year-old man was on the job at a north Stockton restaurant.
Bobby’s brother, Marlon Gayle, told the outlet that his brother had just finished the job when the shooting occurred. Marlon claims that Bobby saw a man driving at high speed through the parking lot and yelled for him to slow down.
The brother said the man, identified as Michael Hayes, 31, stopped his truck, got out and started shooting and spouting racial slurs. Marlon told the outlet he believes “it was a hate crime.”
He added, “The guy doesn’t know my brother. My brother doesn’t know him. Out of nowhere, he started calling him the N-word and started shooting him.”
On Friday, Hayes was charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Marlon Gayle said he learned of his brother’s shooting through several voicemails the father of five left on his phone. The shooter missed several major arteries, but Bobby was ultimately hit in his throat, upper arm, shoulder and two times in the face.
The brother says they “don’t know if he’ll be able to work at the same capacity.” He added, “The doctors are letting us know. Our first thing … is being able to see that he is breathing right. He’s talking right.”
Prior to Hayes’ arrest, Stockton Police shared photos of the man and his truck on Facebook. There was also a $10,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.
Stockton Police Assistant Chief Jim Chraska said that the department was “working with reporting to the California Department of Justice as well as the FBI. We have an officer on the FBI task force. So it’s important to us to make sure we get the community’s help.”
After the arrest, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones thanked the “anonymous tipster and the hard work of our detectives for bringing a quick resolution to this case for the victim and his family.”
A GoFundMe has since been set up to assist in Bobby Gayle’s recovery process.
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