Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007

Teens charged in assault on Sikh men, other attacks

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Four teenagers from Silver Spring have been charged in connection to three separate assaults in Burtonsville last month, including an attack on two elderly Sikh men that was ruled inconclusive as a hate crime, Montgomery County Police said.

A 13-year-old boy, two 14-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy were charged as juveniles with assault, said David Baker, hate crimes coordinator for county police.

The attacks began Sept. 15 along a trail in the woods near the 3600 block of Childress Terrace, when police allege the teens punched two Sikh men, a 77-year-old Burtonsville man and a 75-year-old man from Springfield, Va.

Baker said the attack is being called ‘‘inconclusive” because there is not enough evidence to convict the teens of a hate crime but investigators cannot exclude the incident as one.

During the afternoon of Sept. 16, police allege the teens punched the face and head of a 27-year-old man who lives in the 14300 block of Beaker Court. Hours later, the teens confronted and punched a 48-year-old man in the 3600 block of Silver Spruce Lane who was driving home, police said.

While the other two assaults were not investigated as hate crimes, the victims ‘‘all appear to be gentlemen that could be mistaken for the same ethnicity,” Baker said.

The suspects were released to the custody of their parents or guardians, Baker said, and their cases are pending in juvenile court.