Victims: Brothers not responsible for hate crime attacks
One of the suspects involved in alleged hate crime says he is innocent and the victims agree with him. Officials say there is still a sixth suspect at large.Police have charged four teenagers with a hate crime and one adult with attempted murder after they allegedly beat and attempted to drown a black Florida International University student at Haulover Beach Park Marina over the weekend. “I had nothing to do with it,” said Miguel Aranda. One of the victims spoke on Tuesday and confirmed the Aranda’s brothers were not responsible for the alleged attack.
According to published reports, around 1 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, when 18-year-old Steven Barrette and his two dormmates arrived at the marina from a party at an island in the intercoastal, a group of five teens attacked Barrette and his two friends with baseball bats. The attackers knocked Barrette into the water and then held him down in what looked like an attempt to drown him. A nearby fisherman witnessed the attack and called police.
Before the attack, when the party came to an end, Barrett and his two roommates hopped on the boat with the five teens that was to take them back ashore. After they loaded into the boat the captain told Barrette the vessel was overloaded, and he had to get off. The teens already on board called Barrette the N-word and yelled for him to get off. After a brief exchange of words, Barrett and his two friends exited the boat and waited for it to make its rounds and caught it on the next trip.
Police arrested five people in connection with Barrett’s beating. Police charged four teens in the group with hate crimes. The teens included two 17-year-olds and one 15-year-old, whose names will not be released because they’re minors. Authorities charged an 18-year-old, Miguel Aranda, with a hate crime, battery and attempted murder. Twenty-one-year-old Jose Osorio faces aggravated battery and attempted murder charges, but police have not charged him with a hate crime. A sixth suspect that goes by the name of “Ichi” is still at large and is the one believed to be wielding the bat.
Barrette, who came from New York to attend FIU, was taken to Aventura Hospital with minor injuries and was later released.