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CAIR Welcomes Sentencing in Maryland Hate Crime Shooting Motivated by Racial Animus

(BALTIMORE, Md., 9/24/2020)  The Maryland office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed the sentencing of a white supremacist Brandon Higgs to 25 years behind bars with five years probation due to a hate crime shooting motivated by racial animus.

SEE:  White Supremacist Sentenced To 25 Years For Maryland Hate Crime Shooting Of Black Man

On Dec. 20, 2018, 60-year-old Elvis Smith was involved in a confrontation with Brandon Higgs. Higgs later turned up at Smith’s house, carrying a gun and yelling slurs such as “this is my hood” and “Black m*****f****** (expletive), go back to Africa”. 

A scuffle ensued in which Smith tried to defend himself and Higgs attempted to shoot him. Robert Peete, Smith’s friend, was also there and reported that Higgs pointed the gun in his face. Higgs shot the gun into Smith’s leg, obliterating his tibia. The two friends managed to restrain Higgs until the police came.

As Higgs awaited trial, many comments he had made in private neo-nazi group chats were uncovered, including ones with plans to attend the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Higgs also had an obsession with Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who in 2015 massacred Black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

On Wednesday, a Maryland judge sentenced Higgs to four decades behind bars on charges of shooting and injuring Smith. The 26-year-old former Navy cryptologist was found to be guilty of first-degree assault, attempted voluntary manslaughter, hate crimes and related firearms charges. Fifteen years of the sentencing were suspended.

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CONTACT: CAIR Office in Maryland Director Zainab Chaudry,, 410-971-6062; CAIR Media and Public Relations Intern Yasmeen Elkoshairi,, 240-708-0061

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