A black Portland, Ore., family say they were attacked this week by a cyclist who used a racial slur as he shot pepper spray at their three children who were in a car, the Portland Mercury reports.
According to the report, 62-year-old Patricia Garner and her daughter, 32-year-old Foia Frazer, were getting Frazer’s three children into a car Tuesday when a white or Hispanic cyclist passed by and attacked them.
“The suspect turned around northbound, riding back by the car, and sprayed the kids with pepper spray,” a press release from the Portland Police Bureau confirmed. “Garner reported to police that the man yelled a racial epithet at them as he pepper-sprayed the kids, then rode away.”
The three children, ages 12, 11 and 7, were treated at the scene, and police are still looking for the suspect, who is described as being in his mid-20s, 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing about 160 pounds and wearing black, spandex-style bicycle clothing and a gray and black helmet.
The suspect was riding a road bike with a white box on the back. While authorities say Frazer found the white box, police said it did not contain any identifying information.
Laurel Carrasco, a neighbor of the victims, told the Mercury that one of the children, a 12-year-old boy, had to be treated at the hospital.
“The fumes coming off the child were enough to choke one of the doctors,” Carrasco said. “He had to have several milk cloths put on him and eventually had to be sedated.”
According to Carrasco, the man just randomly lashed out at them.
“He said, ‘How are you guys doing?’ One of them said, ‘Fine,’” Carrasco said. “These are kids who were just loaded up into the car at their grandma’s house.”
Police spokesperson Sgt. Pete Simpson said that he could not confirm if the child went to the hospital, saying that he did not travel there by ambulance. Simpson said that police are still trying to learn more about what led to the incident.
“We want to know more about the interaction to the extent there was an interaction between the suspect and kids,” Simpson said.
“To have hate of that magnitude and to pour that hate on an innocent victim, a child that was helpless and cannot defend themselves? That’s extreme,” another neighbor, Vanessa White, said, according to KPTV.