A white Virginia dad who shot his daughter’s Black boyfriend several times has been released on a lenient $500 bond. 43-year-old Patrick Fonatine Creath Jr, who is reportedly a member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), was charged with malicious wounding along with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, in connection with the shooting that occurred in Virginia Beach on June 19.
The leniency of the charge has caused outrage online, as celebrities including 50 Cent, Trey Songz and civil rights attorney Ben Crump have shared a petition to upgrade the charges to a federal hate crime. The petition, which is looking to obtain 25,000 signatures, has already garnered over 17,000 signatures.
Creath Jr, who was released recently from the Virginia Beach Correctional Center, told police he opened fire in self-defense.
He claimed that on June 19, his daughter’s boyfriend, in the midst of an argument, “kept threatening to kill him” and pointed a gun at him and his daughter “as if to shoot them” while driving away, court documents show.
Creath Jr said he feared for his life and shot his own gun at the boyfriend “in defense of himself and his daughter.” The boyfriend was struck three times and his car was riddled with bullets.
Police arrived at the scene and said they found a gun that allegedly belonged to the boyfriend, who was treated for his injuries at a local hospital.
“Mr. Creath remained on scene of the shooting and was in possession of the firearm that he used at the time of police arrival,” police told local media WAVY. The boyfriend has not been charged with any crime as of Wednesday.
“[Creath Jr’s] behavior was a hate crime and should be prosecuted as such,” the petition to VA Senator Tim Kaine reads.
“Had this situation been vice versa, the black young man that was shot would still be behind bars without the possibility of bond.”