MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Police in Mount Vernon that are allegedly investigating a recent fatality as a potential hate crime may be reversing course, according to reports.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas and Police Commissioner Shawn Harris stated on Thursday morning that they were investigating a recent fatality of a hate crime in a statement that was issued.
A man, later identified as 35-year-old Michael C. Jones, was found suffering from a head wound on Eastchester Avenue on Tuesday. He was transported to a local hospital and later died from his injuries.
Thomas said that the preliminary reports indicated that Jones was in an altercation, was pushed or fell, striking his head on a curb, leading police to investigate the fatal incident as a possible hate crime.
It was never indicated why Jones may have been a target. The Westchester Medical Examiner has not yet offered an official cause of death for Jones.
According to a lohud report , as police continue investigating the incident and searching for a pair of suspects, the incident may not have been a hate crime after all. The report states that there may have been no crime at all, according to police.
Mount Vernon Deputy Police Chief Roy Hastings could not be immediately reached on Friday morning.
“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of this individual,” Thomas said on Thursday. “Those that seek to attack people to install fear in communities due to race, religion, or sexual orientation are cowards and will face justice. Mount Vernon is a city of inclusion and despicable acts of intimidation will not be tolerated.
“I have directed the Mount Vernon Police Department to collaborate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York State Police’s Hate Crimes Unit, and our other partners in law enforcement to investigate this heinous act.”
“We will continue to work with the community to find those that are responsible for, or contributed to, this young man’s passing,” acting Police Commissioner Shawn Harris added. “Mount Vernon has become significantly safer, with crime dropping 22 percent from 2012 levels; however this loss appears to be a deeply personal conflict that may be a hate crime.”
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