SPOKANE, Wash - The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into a shooting over the weekend that Spokane Police have determined was a hate crime.
Two convicted felons are accused of assaulting a black man, then firing gunshots into his home. Police say Jason Cooper and Donald Prichard shouted racial slurs and targeted the victim because of the color of his skin.
The FBI tells KXLY4 News that the Spokane office is investigating, along with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"The FBI will work with the Spokane Police Department to review all available facts and evidence to assess if there is a federal civil rights violation," said FBI Public Affairs Officer Ayn Dietrich-Williams. "We are concerned about elements of the incident because any crime that is potentially hate-motivated is not only an attack on the victim, but threatens and intimidates an entire community."
If proven, the crime could fall under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which makes illegal the targeting of someone based on race, color, religion or national origin. It carries a 10 year maximum sentence for crimes not resulting in someone's death.