Lancaster Teens Targeted In Alleged Hate Crime Shooting
Best friends Ty Schmelzer and James Willis are best friends and love to ride bikes together.
Sunday night they were riding along a sidewalk in the 1,000 block of East Sixth Avenue when they got a scare.
“I am extremely outraged,” said Linda Schmelzer, Ty’s Mom. “I adopted my son at birth and thought I was bringing him into a better world, doing a better thing for him, and now, look what's happened.”
James’ mother, Maranda Willis, said they couldn’t believe what had happened.
“It’s disturbing,” she said. “You wish you could be there to protect your kids. It’s sad you can’t leave your yard without the racism.”
The boys say they noticed a white SUV heading in the opposite direction along East Sixth Avenue, and when it was right by them, about ten feet away - they say the passenger pointed an airsoft handgun out the window at the African American boy and shot him in the leg.
Then, they say the passenger yelled 'KKK' at them, before speeding away down the street.
"I heard a pop, then I looked and got hit in the leg,” said Ty.
Moments later, he crashed into the curb, suffering a small cut, but thankfully nothing serious.
"I was making sure he was all right, but I was confused, so I stopped real quick and turned around,” said James.
And James, who is half-Mexican, is still angry.
"A little mad, that they shot my friend,” he said. “It’s stupid.”
The boys' families are especially concerned after nearby neighborhoods were targeted by a KKK recruitment campaign about a month ago.
"I understand there are people that are racist, but I don't really see why though,” added Ty.
"I won't put up with this, I hope Lancaster won't put up with this, and we’ve got to get out there and people have to get out there and say you know what? We're not putting up with that,” said Linda Schmelzer. “My child's no different than yours, his color is different, but he's as beautiful as yours, don't do this to my child.”
Since the incident happened so fast, the boys did not get the license plate number, but they describe the two men in the white SUV as being in their 30s with dark hair.
For now, the boys’ mothers are keeping them closer to home – and telling them to be more vigilant.
Their hope is that the two men are caught before anyone else gets hurt.