Michael Hayes: California man charged with shooting Black man 7 times
STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA: A week after a man shot a Black man seven times while hurling racial slurs at him, a suspect has been arrested and charged with attempted murder with a hate crime enhancement in the attack, prosecutors have said. Michael Hayes, 31, was arraigned on October 15, Friday, in connection with the shooting incident that took place on October 8. Besides being charged with attempted murder, he was also charged with assault with a firearm with a hate crime enhancement, and carrying a loaded firearm while in a public space.
Based on police reports, prosecutors said that Hayes was "driving erratically and speeding" through a parking lot when the victim, Bobby Gayle, 45, "told the driver to slow down". "The defendant then stopped, exited the vehicle, used racial epithets, and shot the victim seven times," the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office said in a statement Friday, October 15, after the arraignment.
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Bobby Gayle had just finished a construction job at a restaurant before the shooting took place at around 11.30 pm. After Hayes was arrested, Bobby Gayle told Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV from his hospital bed that he holds no hatred for the assailant. "I can't have hatred living in my heart," Gayle said. "Some people were looking at me funny, like even to pray for even a young man or whoever the man's family who did these things...but I never had no hatred in me." "I'm so thankful, and thank everybody for the support and the love and everything. And we come from a family, we just love everybody, there's no hatred over here. 100%," Gayle added.
The father of five said that he was shot twice in his face and also in his neck, shoulder and legs. His brother Marlon Gayle said that one of the bullets, which is lodged in his head, "is going to stay there because they can't remove because it will do more damage." Gayle's family let out a sigh of relief as Hayes was arrested. "By God's grace the guy is found and he's arrested," Marlon Gayle said. "We'll let justice take its place."
Marlon said that Gayle protested after the perpetrator's pick-up truck almost hit him and a friend. "According to my brother and the guy who was with him, his friend, the guy gets out of the truck, the white guy, and he has a gun, and he starts saying the n-word over and over again and started shooting my brother," Marlon Gayle said.
After the shooting incident, the Stockton Police Department posted pictures of the shooter's truck, saying it is a late-model Chevrolet Silverado, and urged the public to help with tips. They also offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information that would lead to an arrest. 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."
Hayes, who is in custody, will be appearing in court on October 28 for further arraignment. "The terrible actions of one is not a representation of who we are as a community. No one should be victimized because of their race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation," District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement Friday. "My office takes these crimes very seriously. It is our goal, in collaboration with our law enforcement partners, to rid the community of hate and unnecessary gun violence."
A GoFundMe page has been set up asking for donations for Gayle's medical and rehabilitation expenses. "During this time, we are asking for any donations to help with his medical and rehabilitation expenses as he has been in the hospital and will continue to be for some time. Also, given the traumatic nature of this event, these funds will also help his family tremendously, as they stay by his side and comfort him during this time of healing. Any amount will help Bobby and his family immensely," the page says. Till the writing of this article, $14,038 had been raised out of the $15,000 goal.