Pinellas Park Police Charge 3 Men with Child Abuse Linked to a Hate Crime
The wrongdoers attacked three boys with pepper spray and shouted racial slurs, Pinellas Park police said.
PINELLAS PARK – Three men have been charged with child abuse after three teens on bicycles were attacked Thursday (July 21), according to the Pinellas Park police.
The victims were two black teens, ages 13 and 15, and a white teen, age 14. Police are withholding their names because of their ages. The three were treated at the scene for their exposure to pepper spray and released to their parents. The boys, who were headed to football practice, said they had never seen their attackers before.
John Karlton Schmidt, 18, of 6083 67th Ave. N in Pinellas Park, was charged with three counts of child abuse, police said. Peter-Austin George Afentakis, 19, of 5400 Park St. in St. Petersburg, and Corey M. Knous, 19, of 3812 3rd Ave. N in St. Petersburg, were charged with one count each of child abuse (principal first degree), according to police and Pinellas County Jail records. All charges will be submitted to the State Attorney’s Office with a hate crime enhancement because of racial slurs that were used.
Police described the situation:
Just after 3 p.m. Thursday (July 21), the three accused were driving southbound in a white Infiniti in the 6300 block of 62nd Street, Schmidt, who was in the front passenger seat, saw three boys riding their bicycles on the sidewalk. Police said he pointed them out to Afentakis, who was driving, and Knous, who was in the back seat. Schmidt allegedly began using a racial insult directed at the three juvenile males by saying “look, it’s a pack of n******.” Police said Schmidt told the driver to stop the car.
The car and the bikes all stopped together at a red light at 62nd Street and 62nd Avenue. Schmidt who, police said, had wrapped a T-shirt around his head to disguise himself, rolled his window down and began shouting racial slurs directed at the three juveniles. After a brief verbal argument between the groups, police said Schmidt got out of the car and pepper sprayed all three victims in their faces and torsos while again using racial slurs directed at them. After the teens were sprayed, Schmidt got back in the car, which drove away.
Several officers responded to the scene while other officers circulated the area. A vehicle matching the given description was located in front of Schmidt’s residence, 6083 67th Ave. N, where all three were arrested.
For information about the Pinellas Park police, go to pinellas-park.com.
Pinellas Park Police | Hate Crime | Child Abuse | Tampa Bay Reporter
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