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Ohio man charged over allegations of racially-charged threats to Doña Ana County DA

DOÑA ANA COUNTY, New Mexico (KVIA) -- Donald Fowler, from Ohio, is facing charges for making allegedly racially-charged threats to the Doña Ana County District Attorney.

Fowler allegedly called DA Gerald Byers about an officer-involved shooting between a Las Cruces police officer and Teresa Gomez.

She was shot by Officer Felipe Hernandez when she tried to drive away during a traffic stop. She later died of her injuries, and Hernandez has not been charged with any crime related to Gomez's death.

Police body camera footage from the Oct. 3 shooting went viral, prompting Fowler's calls to the DA.

“This was a case out of Las Cruces,” said John Day, a legal expert for KOAT, ABC-7's sister station in Albuquerque. "People all over the country were seeing it. And apparently, it had that got one person in Ohio so angry that he decided to break the law."

According to court documents, Byers received a voicemail about the case on Oct. 26. The FBI said they tracked the call to Lodi, Ohio, and charged Fowler with transmitting threats across state lines.

Day explained that the FBI found a man in Ohio who apparently used the phone to call DA Byers, "and made some specific threats, used very explicit racial language, and made threats about putting the DA in a noose."

“A hate crime under federal law is a crime that's motivated by hatred, bias, prejudice towards anybody because of their skin color, their religion, their race, or gender. So, is it possible that there could be an additional hate crime charge? It's certainly possible," Day said.

ABC-7 reached out to the Doña Ana County District Attorney's Office, who referred us to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Mexico. They told us they cannot comment on pending investigations.

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Kerry Mannix


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