DeLand man faces hate crime charges after racist attack on 3 teens, Volusia Sheriff’s Office says

Richard Burnham, 58, arrested Wednesday

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A man is facing charges after he shouted racial slurs at three teens while attacking their car with a pipe, according to Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Richard Burnham, 58, was arrested Wednesday on charges of criminal mischief causing damage of $1,000 and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.

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Richard Burnham, 58 (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Deputies said the attack happened at a Circle K gas station, 320 N. S.R. 415, in Osteen Saturday.

The victims — three teens, ranging in age from 17 to 18 years old — said they were getting gas when a man, Burnham, became hostile and aggressive toward them, shouting racial slurs at them, records show.

The victims told deputies Burnham went into the gas station, then came back outside, grabbed a pipe from his truck and then started hitting the victims’ car, according to investigators.

The man managed to dent the passenger side doors and smash one of the car windows before the teens could drive off. deputies said. The victims said Burnham then followed them in his truck for two miles before finally giving up the chase.

“He tried to follow us... when he hit us, we tried to, like, pull out the way so he couldn’t hit us again and my friend got out the car and said like, ‘What are you doing?’ and then he tried to come back and hit us and we left because we were scared,” one of the victims said in a 911 call.

Richard Burnham managed to dent the passenger side doors and smash one of the car windows before the teens could drive off. deputies said. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Investigators said the victims were able to provide a detailed description of their attacker, his truck and the trailer it was hauling. Surveillance video from the gas station showed Burnham purchasing beer around the time of the attack, deputies said.

Deputies were able to catch up with Burnham on Wednesday, records show. When questioned, Burnham claimed the teens shot him with an airsoft gun and threatened him; however, investigators said his account had several discrepancies and that no airsoft gun was found with the victims.

The sheriff’s office said it recommended the charges against Burnham be enhanced as a hate crime due to his use of racial slurs in the unprovoked attack.

Burnham was taken to the Volusia County jail on Wednesday but has since bonded out.

You can listen to the full 911 call in the media player below:

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.