Male suspect in Benicia arrested for alleged hate crime, DUIVallejo Times Herald, By KATY ST. CLAIR, April 15, 2021
A 20-year-old man was arrested in Benicia on Saturday for an alleged felony “hate crime.”
Patric Knoblich is accused of making racial slurs against a group of minors at the Southampton Shopping Center as he drove past them, police said. He was also booked for allegedly brandishing a replica of a gun and driving under the influence.
According to a post on the Facebook group Stand-Up Benicia, the victims — ages 13, 14 and 15 — were walking their bikes next to the shopping complex when a man yelled from his car, “Hey you nasty (N-words)!” Two passengers reportedly looked on and laughed.
The children say they have a recording of the incident. The Times-Herald listened to the audio and a male can be heard yelling the slur, and also saying “You (expletive) nasty!”
According to the Benicia Police Department, “a short time later, the teens asked the driver why he made the comments and at this point, the driver brandished a realistic-looking airsoft gun” and drove away.
The juveniles claim that when the car came back, the driver also yelled, “You don’t know who you’re (expletive) with, (expletive)!”
The boys told a source familiar to the Times-Herald that they were fearful and went into Raley’s Supermarket to report what had happened. According to the boys, the manager of Raley’s told them to “go home,” though a spokesperson for Raley’s said that is inaccurate and that the store manager called 911.
The Benicia Police confirm that Raley’s did indeed call 911, but after the victim’s mother had already done so.
According to a post on Stand Up Benicia, the boys were frightened and went to the back of the store, where the mother of one of their schoolmates recognized them and took them home. The mother of one of the boys then called 911 and the police arrived at their home.
According to BPD, officers located the alleged driver of the vehicle, Knoblich, whom they say is out on bail for a previous, unrelated crime. Police say the incident is still under investigation.
Knoblich was booked into Solano County Jail on April 11 for misdemeanor brandishing of a firearm replica, driving under the influence and driving under the influence as a minor, and a felony “violation of civil rights.”
Knoblich has been released from jail. The Times-Herald has reached out to the district attorney about the case, but had not heard back by press time.