The Arizona Republic reports that two Gilbert, Arizona teens found with swastika marks carved on the inside of their wrists are accused of firing pellets at two boys and beating them up because they were Mormon, according to a police report released Monday May 5th, 2008. Also reported by the East Valley Tribune.
A newer Arizona Republic article published May 6th offers considerable more details. Updated post on this case published May 24th HERE.
The attack, which took place on Saturday evening at a neighborhood park northeast of Islands Elementary School left one victim, a 15-year-old boy, with facial injuries. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment. According to the report, the teens accused in the attack near Elliot and McQueen roads went up to the boy and a 17-year-old and asked if they were Mormon. When the two answered "yes," the teens began shooting a pellet gun at them. Police say the fight escalated from there, with the teens making anti-Mormon statements during the assault.
The teens, 16 and 15, were arrested outside one of their homes that night. They were booked into the Maricopa County Juvenile Detention Facility on suspicion of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, and underage drinking. The 16-year-old also is accused of drunken driving. No word on whether or not religious hate crimes charges will be considered.
For some reason, the Arizona Republic also mentioned that Gilbert was once home to a White-supremacist gang, the Devil Dogs, which in 1999 was linked to former mobster Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" and connected to a series of beatings and drug activity. Apparently they want to establish a link between this factoid and the swastika marks on the assailants to make it look like the attackers are "white supremacists". This would be a premature conclusion, since "white supremacists", if they physcially attack people, normally target non-whites for such attacks. However, further research uncovered a 2000 Arizona Republic report posted on Rick Ross' website which showed that many LDS belonged to the Devil Dogs at one time, but LDS participation had dropped dramatically by the time the report was published. I don't believe this will prove to be an issue here, though.
I'm sure we'll find out that these two were not genuine "white supremacists", but a couple of wannabes who decorated themselves just to get attention. Good work by the police in tracking down the assailants so quickly.
Just days earlier on May 2nd, LDS members in Gilbert celebrated when the Church announced its intent to build a temple in Gilbert, to be located near the intersection of Greenfield and Pecos roads in Gilbert. Undoubtedly, the news of this assault will dampen their spirits somewhat.