WASHINGTON COUNTY, OR (KPTV) – An Aloha man was arrested and charged with a hate crime after he threatened a FedEx delivery driver on Sunday, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said.
The suspect, 68-year-old Rodney Bryant, was arrested and charged with a first-degree bias crime, unlawful use of a weapon and menacing.
"I’m still in shock," said the delivery driver, Akiel Horn, 22.
Horn told FOX 12 that he just moved to Portland from California three weeks ago and started his job.
He was out delivering packages near Southwest Cascadia Street and Southwest 188th Avenue in Aloha when a man came out of his house and stood in the street and blocked the FedEx truck.
According to Horn, the man started yelling at him about speeding and used racial slurs.
Horn was able to drive away to his next delivery, but investigators said Bryant got into his car and pulled up along the FedEx truck with his door open, and even used his car to block the FedEx van in an apartment complex.
Horn said Bryant got out of his car to yell at him, again using racial slurs, and he saw a gun in Bryant's car through its open door.
"I didn’t know it was a BB gun," Horn said. “I’m thinking it’s a real gun.”
Horn said Bryant then told him, “I’m not afraid to use it.”
“Honestly, I’m a minister, so the first thing that popped in my mind was ‘oh, I’m going to die,’ but then I said, ‘no, I’m not’ – he gave me enough room to get out. Thank God, and I got out.”
Horn said he quickly drove away and called 911.
Bryant was arrested, and a pellet gun was recovered, according to WCSO. The pellet gun had no orange tip, which distinguishes it from a real gun, deputies said.
Sunday evening, FOX 12 spoke with Bryant’s wife, Joyce Harmon.
Harmon found it shocking when she learned her husband was charged with a hate crime.
"Totally stunned," Harmon said. "I knew that they had arrested him, which seemed crazy, and then when I saw the posting, I was just flabbergasted."
Harmon said she wants to make two things clear: her husband is not a racist and he never threatened anyone with a gun.
"He was concerned about the driver speeding, so he wanted to ask him to slow down and so he found him and did that, but the driver yelled at him and he yelled back," Harmon said.
"He’s a very loving person," Harmon added. "He’s not a bully, he’s not mean, he’s very kind-hearted."
Harmon said police took the BB gun from their home and she said it was never in her husband’s car.
Now she worries her home might be targeted by people who think her family is racist.
"Now I’m just concerned with the social media posting and everything that now we’re going to start being harassed," Harmon said.
Meanwhile, Horn said there’s no excuse for what happened to him.
"It shouldn’t be a reason where you’re calling me the N-word and or saying you’re not afraid to use your gun – there’s no explanation for that," Horn said.
Bryant is being held on $10,000 bail.