Elree Jones of Chicago came to Indiana looking for work.
On August 30, while stopping into a Lafayette-area convenience store on a late-night beer run, Jones life was changed for the worse.
NBC Chicago reports:
He said he was talking on the phone in the store shortly after 2 o'clock that ill-fated morning when a man walked in, walked straight toward him, and attacked with a knife he estimates was about seven inches long.
"He just slashed my face. I still had my phone in my hand. He slashed my face and I dropped the phone," he said. "After he slashed my face, I was in shock. He kept going, so I was blocking [him]... he slashed me in my arm.
Jones was able to get away and ran out the store, but his attacker followed. Jones said he had hatred in his eyes and venom spewing from his mouth.
"He mumbled racial slurs... like he'll kill me. 'I'll kill this n****r,'" Jones recalled.
Jones was able to flee to a friend’s home nearly one mile away.
Police initially thought Jones had provoked the man’s attack, but surveillance cameras inside the store show suggest “a starkly different and chilling story,” the report adds.
Police used that surveillance video to track down 50-year-old Mark Neal, who's since been charged with four felonies.
Authorities are investigating whether the attack was racially motivated. They have not released other details about their investigation.
A store clerk who saw the surveillance tape branded the attack as a hate crime.
"It's just sad that there is so much hate in the world. And another person could have no compassion for a human life. We all bleed the same," the clerk said.
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