Robert Ray has been arrested and charged with a hate crime, two counts of simple battery, and criminal damage to property. He has been booked into the Ascension Parish Jail.

On Friday, September 14, a family of Latino descent was shopping at Boots Etc. on Hwy. 30 in Gonzales. The patriarch of the family is an American Marine.

While shopping, the daughter of the family, who is 19 years old, was approached by Robert Ray, 60 years old, of Donaldsonville. Ray told her to “go back to Mexico.” Ray is originally from Arkansas and has been working in the area for two years.

Visibly upset, the daughter’s mother, Salome Martinez, approached Ray, telling him that the comment was “not a nice thing to say.” The mother was subsequently pushed to the floor by Ray. At this point, the father of the girl, Alfredo Buitureira, became involved in the discussion. Ray then hit the father in the face with both his fist and a boot. A fight escalated, causing damage to the rear of the store.

Robert Ray has been arrested and charged with a hate crime, two counts of simple battery, and criminal damage to property. He has been booked into the Ascension Parish Jail.

Chief of Police Sherman Jackson had this to say regarding the incident. “Not in my city, and not on my watch, will the City of Gonzales Police Department ever tolerate actions taken against people based upon their race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry. Due to the suspect’s statements that escalated this encounter, his comments clearly fall under Louisiana RS 14:107.2.”

Contributed by the City of Gonzales