GRESHAM, Ore. -- Tattoos on Gresham murder suspect Russell Courtier show possible ties to a racist hate group.
Courtier is accused of getting into a fight with 19-year-old Larnell Bruce outside the 7-Eleven on Northeast 188th Avenue and Burnside Street on Aug. 10. Investigators said Bruce tried to run away, but Courtier and his girlfriend, Coleen Hunt, chased him down in their Jeep and hit him. Courtier was driving the Jeep.
Bruce later died from his injuries.
Photos taken from Courtier's Facebook page show a tattoo on his leg with the letters E and K. Those initials commonly show affiliation with the European Kindred, a white supremacist gang formed in Oregon prisons in the 1990s.
According to the Portland Mercury, one of Courtier's associates also referred to "us kindred" in a comment on the Facebook photo.
Criminology professor Randy Blazak is an expert on prison hate groups. He said once they're released, some members of the European Kindred maintain their gang ties to pay off protection they received from the gang in prison.
“We've seen in other parts of the country that part of [paying off] those debts has been committing a hate crime against another minority,” said Blazak.
Police haven't released what they think Courtier's motive was.