Oakland Teen Accused of Allegedly Setting Trans Bus Passenger on Fire Charged with Hate Crime
OAKLAND, Calif. - A 16-year-old Northern California boy is being charged as an adult with hate crimes after authorities say he set another teenage boy wearing a skirt on fire on a public bus because of homophobia, authorities said Thursday.
Alameda County prosecutors charged Richard Thomas, of Oakland, with felony assault and aggravated mayhem with hate crime enhancements in Monday’s attack on Luke "Sasha" Fleischman, who is hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns.
"Richard Thomas’ violent and senseless criminal conduct resulted in severe and traumatic injuries to a young and entirely innocent victim," District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said after charges were filed. "The intentional and callous nature of the crime is shocking and will not be tolerated in our community."
Thomas, who had no lawyer present with him, didn’t enter a plea during his arraignment Thursday. He was being held without bail and is due back in court Nov. 12.
Thomas’ mother, who identified herself only as Ms. Jackson, spoke to KGO-TV outside the courtroom.
"I am very sorry for my son’s actions. I did not raise him that way," she said, adding: "My son is not a hateful person. He’s a kid, kids joke around."
The Associated Press is naming Thomas even though he is a minor because of the seriousness of the alleged crime.