Ft. Morgan Police investigate possible hate crime

Car windows shot out in East African community

Fort Morgan, Colo. - Fort Morgan Police are investigating several instances of vandalism overnight that targeted vehicles in the city’s East African refugee community as hate crimes.

Police said someone shot out the windows of about five cars with a BB gun in the early-morning hours Sunday.

Windows were shot out on all of the vehicles and the sides of the vehicles were also damaged by the BB shots, police said.

Both of these locations are known as Somali East African refugee housing areas, and all of the vehicles damaged are owned by members of this immigrant community, said a statement by the city.

"This will not be tolerated," said Chief Darren Sagel with the Ft. Morgan Police Department. "Any crimes like this we’ll investigate them as a hate crime and pursue it to the fullest extent of the law."

On Feb. 9, several vehicles in the same area were spray-painted with obscenities and racial slurs, including the 'n' word, according to police.

"I am afraid," said Khalif Ali, whose window was shot out overnight. "Maybe they do not like people from other countries coming in."

Fort Morgan Police have no suspects at this time but all leads are being investigated, police said in a statement. 

In Dec. 2011, several cars windows were shot out in Somali neighborhoods throughout Ft. Morgan, but police said it was more widespread.

"We eventually arrested two juveniles and charged them in those crimes," said Sagel. "People in this community usually come forward with information."

Anyone with information related to these crimes is asked to call the Fort Morgan Police Department at (970) 867-5678. If someone has information but wishes to remain anonymous, they can call Crime Stoppers at 542-3411, or visit the City of Fort Morgan’s web page at www.cityoffortmorgan.com and submit a tip online by following the Crime Stoppers link on the side of the page

The incidents are being investigated as hate crimes. 

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