LIVINGSTON – A Denham Springs man was charged with hate crimes after he admitted he purposefully caused damage to a convenience store because he was under the impression the owners were Muslim, according to Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard.
Chad Horsley, 27, of Eagle Ridge Drive, Denham Springs, told deputies he purposely caused damage to the store on the 11,000-block of La. 1019 in Denham Springs, the sheriff said.
“He blamed Muslims for killing his fellow service members overseas,” Ard said. “He was also upset that Muslims, in his mind, were having an easier time prospering than he was despite his time in the service.”
The case stems from a Feb. 27 post on the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office Facebook page which featured images of surveillance footage inside the convenience store.
“We were trying to identify the individual because he claimed to be law enforcement,” Ard said. “He said he suspected drug activity and would return to the store to do a search.”
Horsley left in a white pickup.
The LPSO received a call March 3 from a witness who spotted a white truck at the same convenience store. The witness also told deputies the driver of the white pickup stole the store’s ATM.
The suspect pulled out a handgun and fled the scene when the witness attempted to intervene, Ard said.
Horsley talked to deputies, but his version of the events did not match up to surveillance footage and witness statements, the sheriff said.
Ard said he did not believe Horsley had current ties to law enforcement.
“For one, he told deputies he was a Sheriff’s Deputy and produced an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office commission card,” he said.
Detectives learned that Horsley was a former Reserve with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and has no current ties to the agency.
Deputies searched Horsley’s home and located the white pickup which was parked in a garage. The license had been purposely removed, the sheriff said.
Damage to the store was estimated at $4,000.
Horsley was also charged with simple criminal damage to property, criminal mischief and two counts of false impersonation of an officer.
Horsley was released on $56,000 bond from the Livingston Parish Detention Center.
The case remains under investigation, Ard said.