SALEM, Ore. -- A Salem family is in hiding at an undisclosed location after receiving several racist death threats.
“It’s too bad,” said neighbor Angela Johnson. “If I was threatened, I wouldn’t want to live in my house anymore either.”
Johnson lives across the street from the family. They are made up of an African-American mom, Native American dad, and children. They received three threatening notes from somebody claiming to belong to the KKK.
"You and your family will die by the hands of me,” one note reads.
The others were much more graphic.
“Sounds like a personal attack to me,” said Johnson.
What is disturbing to neighbors is even more concerning to detectives at the Salem Police Department. They are investigating the death threats as a possible hate crime.
“They have never received any type of threats before,” said Kayse Jama of the Center for Intercultural Organizing. “First time is too many.”
The couple and their two children left town, fearing for their safety, after they received the first two notes. When they returned for a daughter's ballet recital, they found the third note on their car, threatening the entire family.
Jama says the family is terrified by the hate-laced threats. They are hoping investigators can track down the perpetrator(s).
“I feel bad for them,” said Johnson. “I hope they find the person who did this.”
The family released the following statement.
“It is difficult to find words for what is happening to our family. To be hated – and to have your life threatened – based solely on the color of your skin, is something that should never happen to any family. All we can do, and what we are doing, is to focus on keeping our children safe. We are speaking out today because it is important that people know a hate crime has been carried out against a family in their community. We hope that by making it known, communities and neighborhoods can find ways to come together and keep it from happening to someone else. We also want other families to know there are people and organizations ready and willing to build a wall around you for protection. We are deeply grateful to our family, friends, Chief of Police Jerry Moore and the community organizations that have offered assistance.”
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