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ohlahoma man arrested hate crime

Source: Courtesy of Guthrie Police Department / Guthrie Police Department

A Guthrie, Oklahoma man was arrested on Aug. 23, after an alleged hate crime against a local Black teen happened the night before. 

Payton Heird, the 22-year-old assailant, was “out of jail on bond from a 2017 case where he was charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of sexual abuse of a minor,” according to News9.

The alleged incident between Heird and the Black teen happened at a popular hangout spot for young people in Guthrie called Baker’s Bridge. 18-year-old Zuria Hurst was there with a group of friends when she claims Heird targeted her in an unprovoked manner.

“It was cool for about 30 minutes, and all of [a] sudden, he starts flipping out saying, ‘You need to leave.’ I need to go, especially,” Hurst told News9

When she began recording Heird’s attack on her cell phone, things reportedly escalated further. 

“He starts yelling the N-word. He spits in my face and then he starts throwing rocks,” the teen recalled. “It all happened within 15 minutes. As soon as he threw the rocks, I called police.”

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“I just got hit by a rock,” she told a 911 dispatcher, according to court documents. “This guy is being, like, really racist and he threw a rock at me, so I need help.”

Although the outlet reports she wasn’t “seriously hurt” by the rocks Heird threw, Hurst was hit by one of them in the temple. In addition, the teen noted that her fear really heightened when Heird ran to his truck to get a gun.

“He went to go grab the gun and then I kind of ran off because I didn’t want to see the gun,” Hurst told the outlet. “I am terrified [of] guns as is, so for him to threaten me, I felt so helpless because I didn’t have anything on me.”

Police arrived at the hotspot around 1 am on Sunday, Aug. 22. Shortly after Heird left the scene in a truck driven by one of his friends, cops caught up to the vehicle and proceeded with his arrest.

“The officers had pulled over the vehicle the suspect was in,” Sgt. Anthony Gibbs shared. “They identified the suspect who is not driving. Also, there was a loaded firearm in the vehicle.”

“Had he chose to go back to the vehicle and pull out the weapon we could be investigating a homicide,” Sgt. Gibbs additionally told fellow local outlet News4. “In this case, yeah he was free to say these particular slurs, however, based on his actions and his verbiage together, then it becomes a hate crime.”

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Guthrie Police Department officials noted that Heird had been drinking that night.

“I didn’t feel like I was worthless, but it just made me feel like I was disgusting,” Hurst shared on her feelings in the aftermath of the whole ordeal with News9. Although she’s already forgiven Heird for his actions, the teen still hopes justice will be served so racists will know that their hate won’t go unpunished.

“I have never had any hate crime happen to me,” she added.

Following his arrest, Heird posted his $50,000 bail. The Oklahoma State Court Network detailed that the 22-year-old’s charges include assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, threatening an act of violence, carrying a firearm while under the influence of an unlawful and unprescribed drug, a hate crime and public intoxication. He’s scheduled to appear in court later this month.

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