SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) — Santa Cruz officers responded to a report of an assault that occurred in the block of Blackburn Street Saturday around 11:30 a.m., officials say.
Officers found a male couple at the scene who were victims of the assault. Police located two people responsible for the crime afterwards.
The male suspect was identified as Richard Wood, a 28-year-old Santa Cruz resident. The other was identified as Victoria Van Sandt.
Police say the couple were walking their dog when they passed Wood and Sandt who were out walking their dog. The two animals got into an altercation which angered Wood. Wood then assaulted one of the males and called the victims “homophobic epithets,” police said in a press release. Sandt aided in the assault, allegedly.
The suspected couple ran from the scene after the incident. One victim sustained minor injuries from the assault. Officers found surveillance footage that showed the suspects running into a nearby apartment complex.
Police tracked the couple down and had them detained. Both suspects were arrested and booked into the county jail. They are being charged with assault, conspiracy, and violation of one’s civil rights (hate crime), police say.
The Santa Cruz Police Department says they strongly denounce hate crimes of all kinds and encourages everyone to report incidents at 831-471-1131.