A week after a Black man was shot seven times by an assailant who was allegedly hurling racial epithets while firing at him, prosecutors said a suspect has been charged with attempted murder with a hate crime enhancement in the attack.
Michael Hayes, 31, was arraigned Friday in connection with the Oct. 8 shooting in Stockton, California. In addition to attempted murder, he has been charged with assault with a firearm with a hate crime enhancement, and carrying a loaded firearm while in a public space.
Prosecutors said, based on police reports, Hayes was “driving erratically and speeding” through a parking lot when the victim, 45-year-old Bobby Gayle, “told the driver to slow down.”
“The defendant then stopped, exited the vehicle, used racial epithets, and shot the victim seven times,” the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Friday following the arraignment.
Bobby Gayle, whom family said had just finished a construction job at a restaurant when the shooting occurred around 11:30 p.m., was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
From his hospital bed Thursday following Hayes’ arrest, Bobby Gayle told Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV he holds no hatred for the shooter.
“I can’t have hatred living in my heart,” the father of five told the station, struggling to talk due to his injuries.
“We come from a family, we just love everybody, there’s no hatred over here. One-hundred percent, that’s not me,” he said.
Bobby Gayle said he was shot twice in his face, as well as his neck, shoulder and legs. One of the bullets is lodged in his head and “is going to stay there because they can’t remove because it will do more damage,” his brother, Marlon Gayle, told KXTV.
The family expressed gratitude at news of the arrest.
“By God’s grace the guy is found and he’s arrested,” Marlon Gayle told KXTV. “We’ll let justice take its place.”
In an interview with ABC News earlier this week, Marlon Gayle said his brother spoke up after the shooter’s pick-up truck purportedly nearly hit him and a friend.
“According to my brother and the guy who was with him, his friend, the guy gets out of the truck, the white guy, and he has a gun, and he starts saying the n-word over and over again and started shooting my brother,” Marlon Gayle said.
The Stockton Police Department shared photos of the suspected shooter’s truck on Facebook Wednesday, describing it as a late-model Chevrolet Silverado, while asking the public for tips. A reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest was also offered.
On Thursday, police announced they had arrested Hayes the day prior. In a statement, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones thanked the “anonymous tipster and the hard work of our detectives for bringing a quick resolution to this case for the victim and his family.”
Hayes has been remanded in custody and is scheduled to next appear in court on Oct. 28 for further arraignment, prosecutors said. ABC News has reached out to his attorney.
“The terrible actions of one is not a representation of who we are as a community. No one should be victimized because of their race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation,” District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement Friday. “My office takes these crimes very seriously. It is our goal, in collaboration with our law enforcement partners, to rid the community of hate and unnecessary gun violence.”
ABC News’ Adia Robinson contributed to this report.
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