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Rampage in several states was racially motivated, suspect targeted white men: report


A black man accused of injuring five people in three separate shootings in Georgia and Alabama told police he was targeting white men and the attacks were racially motivated, according to a recent report.

Justin Tyran Roberts, the defendant gunman, told police white men abused him and wronged him all his life, Columbus, Ga. Police Det.Brandon Lockhart testified during a preliminary hearing on Monday, according to Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

“Basically, all his life he explained that white men in particular had stolen from him and what he called military-looking white men,” Lockhart reportedly said.

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Lockhart later testified that Roberts said of one of the shooting victims, “I had to have him”.

Police have accused Roberts of shooting five people in three separate attacks in Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama. All victims are expected to recover, Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon said on Sunday. The chief added that police had found no evidence that Roberts knew any of his victims.

A person was injured in a shooting in a hotel in Phoenix City on Friday evening, police said. Less than two hours later on Friday, three people were shot dead in Columbus. A fifth person was shot dead on Saturday afternoon.

Roberts was eventually charged with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm while committing a crime, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, theft by obtaining stolen property with reference to the weapon, police said.

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Phenix City and Columbus are on opposite sides of the Alabama-Georgia border.

The 39-year-old appeared in the Columbus court on Monday for a preliminary hearing in one of those incidents in which a man was shot in the back as he got into his vehicle.

Roberts also claimed that such men “shot him with a slingshot in a wooded area,” and the wounds infected his skin, Lockhart testified. But he said the police saw no injuries to prove it.

Public defender Robin King requested a mental health examination for Roberts and said the man was delusional.

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“The official’s testimony showed that Mr. Roberts was delusional and disconnected from reality,” King told the judge.

Judge Julius Hunter found a likely reason to send Roberts’ case to the Muscogee Superior Court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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