Delta Police investigate brutal attack; repetitive vandalism as hate crime

DELTA, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – The first attack happened on April 25, 2015. 22-year-old Richard Jones was taking out the trash at Grand Central Station Pizzeria and Grill when he was assaulted.

Richard had just sent all the staff home. He was walking back into the restaurant when he noticed he didn’t hear the back door shut. Next thing he knew his head had been smashed against the wall and blacked out.

“The only other thing I remember about that night is waking up on the floor having someone pinning my chest down and my legs down and force me to drink a bottle of bleach,” said Richard.

He showed me the scars- still visible from the attack- a homophobic slur reading “Die F**” carved into his skin. A constant reminder of a senseless act.

But the assailant didn’t stop there as he/she proceeded to spray paint the slur onto the walls of the restaurant, and walk away with $1,800.

The restaurant has been victim to these attack close to 3 times each time the assailant making away with more cash.

But, the family’s home in Delta has also seen some vandalism. The perpetrator has taken to writing the same words on the family home and garage. On Wednesday, the perpetrator went even more violent in his attacks.

“early Wednesday morning someone came to our house and essentially threw a fire bomb through my bedroom window”

Instinctively leaped into action grabbing the fire extinguisher from the family home
and putting out the fire before more damage as done.

While Richard seems to be the one singled out, his mom not only worries for her son but also the entire family’s safety.

“We don’t want to live our lives in fear, we don’t want to live our lives in such a way that we are beaten down and defeated,” said Terri Jones.

Meanwhile, Millard County Police are following through with leads and seeking the public’s help in capturing the person responsible.

Upon hearing of the attacks Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer J. Cox released the following statement:
“I was horrified and heart-broken to learn of this cowardly and barbaric assault. The Jones family is an upstanding, well-respected and beloved part of the Delta community. Immediately upon learning of the hateful acts, we offered the county officials the full-support of the state in finding the perpetrators and bringing them to justice. I have reached out to the family and expressed our deepest concern, solidarity, and love. This will not stand. I believe that over the coming days we will see an unprecedented outpouring of love and support from every corner of our great state. That is the real Utah.”

But, he wasn’t the only state official to reach out to the Jones family. Upon hearing of Richard’s story, Senator Jim Dabakis made the trip down to Delta to meet with Richard and his family. He described Richard as a smart, articulate, strong and courageous young man. They spoke at length and offered Richard his support and any help the family may need.

“I hope that the rest of the state can let him know that we’re supportive of him his family and the community down here,” said Dabakis

Through it all, Richard just wants people to know that the community of Delta is very supportive of him and his family.

“through it all in a weird way it’s been kinda nice to know how much people do care about us and love us here in the community,,” said Richard.

Anyone with information about the crimes or a lead to who the perpetrator may be is asked to call the Millard County Sheriff’s Office at 435- 864-2755

CORRECTION:  The video story identifies the Millard County Sheriff as Robert Ekker.  His name is actually Robert Dekker.


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