Charleston, South Carolina

From Charleston’s WCBD.com of July 30, 2007

Armed Robberies: Hispanics Fight Back

A string of armed robberies targeting Hispanics ends with gunfire.

Charleston County deputies arrested three men and a woman Monday morning. Authorities arrested 26 Year-Old Issac Alston, 19 Year-Old Montrell Perry and 18 Year-Old Zarel Isadore. Deputies have not released the woman’s name because she has not yet been charged, although witnesses say she served as a look-out.Four suspects.

Three armed robberies. One common theme. Hispanic victims.

The violence started inside a mobile home on Tedder Street around 1:30 Monday morning. Count on 2′ Crimetracker Jenny Fisher said, “When Roberto Flores answered a knock at his door, he was punched in the face. Once he was on the ground, someone continued to punch and kick him and stole $200 from his wallet.”

The suspect, who had a knife, also injured Flores’ roommate and took $15. Afterwards, police say the group drove to a Hess gas station on Dorchester road. Police say the suspects took Noe Perez’s wallet at gunpoint. They wanted his keys, but a nearby car distracted them. Perez took off in his truck, but the suspects followed in a dark car. They fired a shot, but eventually turned away.

Deputies say that’s when the group stopped at the corner of Nelson and Leslie Street to lure a group of Hispanics to their car. Captain Mike Benton with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office said, “They attempted to make it seem as if it was going to be a drug deal and the individuals came over to the vehicle and the individuals came over to vehicle, who happened to be hispanic, and they attempted to rob them.”

Yet, this time, things turned out differently. A victim was shot in the knee, but a suspect was also on the receiving end of the gunfire. Captain Benton said, “The pellets from the shotgun ricocheted and hit one of the suspects in the foot.”

That’s when other Latinos heard the commotion and rushed outside to help their own. They broke the glass out of the suspects’ car, pulled a few punches of their own and detained the four suspects until authorities arrived.

The three men were charged with armed robbery. They are expected to appear in bond court Monday night at seven.

Detectives say they investigate crimes against Latinos all too often. They say some Latinos make easy targets because they don’t trust many people or banks so they keep their cash in their homes.

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