By: NIAH MADIGAN
On April 10, 2021, at around 9:30 PM three Black children (ages 13, 14, and 15) were targeted in a hate crime by Patric Knoblich, a 20 year old white man and former student of Benicia High School. The three had been walking their bikes near Raley’s on Southampton Road when Knoblich verbally assaulted them and called them racial slurs, accompanied by one other white man and one other white woman who looked on and laughed.
The kids happened to be recording a video at the time and captured part of the assault. The video/audio clip is in the Facebook post linked. Knoblich drove off towards Raley’s but reappeared as the children reached Raley’s and continued to taunt them. He became increasingly aggressive and proceeded to brandish what then appeared to be a handgun.
Terrified, the three ran into Raley’s and requested help from a store manager. The store manager refused to call 911 and instead told them to “go home”. Of course, they were too afraid to leave the store and remained in the building until the mother of a classmate found them in the back of the store. She took them home safely, and the mother of the 15 year old then called 911.
A short time after the police were notified, officers found the suspected vehicle and discovered an airsoft handgun matching the victims’ description. According to the Vallejo Times-Herald, Knoblich was booked into the Solano County Jail on April 11 for “misdemeanor brandishing of a firearm replica, driving under the influence and driving under the influence as a minor, and a felony ‘violation of civil rights’” yet Knoblich has now been released.
While there has been talk of a protest or rally at Benicia Raley’s, the families of the victims have stated that they do not support a protest or rally.