A White Pennsylvania man is facing a slew of charges including ethnic intimidation after he allegedly followed a Black man around a convenience store while holding a replica submachine gun.
According to Centre Daily Times, authorities said the suspect, identified as 59-year-old Bertrand Kleindorfer, was also wearing a military vest when he approached the Black man in May. During the encounter, Kleindorfer allegedly told the Black man that it was “pretty dangerous being Black around here.”
Police said the Black man feared his life was in danger during the incident. He reportedly filed a police report in the aftermath of the encounter.
In a probable cause affidavit, police stated that the replica weapon Kleindorfer was holding during the encounter was an MP 40. The 59-year-old is said to have brandished the replica weapon and raised it in a shooting manner. Police also stated that the White suspect was armed with two handguns and he spoke about murdering people.
Kleindorfer allegedly followed the Black man around the store and offered to display how the guns functioned. Police stated that the Black man feared for his life and “felt threatened due to his skin color.”
“The victim stated that all he could think about is how his parents would feel if he had been shot,” police added.
The charges brought against Kleindorfer include one felony count of ethnic intimidation and one misdemeanor count each of terroristic threats, simple assault and disorderly conduct, per Centre Daily Times. He has also been charged with one summary count of harassment.
In a statement, the president of the State College NAACP, Lorraine Jones, said they were “mortified by the details of this incident.”
“It is deeply disturbing that people with intolerance and mental health issues can access guns,” Jones wrote.
“Often these incidents of ethnic intimidation go unreported due to fear of retaliation. I can’t imagine how traumatic this encounter has been for the victim, his family, and the store clerk who witnessed the incident. Our hearts go out to the courageous young man who refused to be intimidated and filed a police report. Our community is very fortunate that there were no casualties.”
Kleindorfer appeared before a court on June 23. He was, however, released on a $25,000 unsecured bail.