Thursday, November 15, 2012
By: Dietrich Nissen
(ABC 6 News) -- On Wednesday night, we learned more about a case from August when a Somali woman was allegedly chased into a store by a man yelling racial slurs. It allegedly started in the parking lot of Cub Foods in southeast Rochester.
According to the criminal complaint, a Somali woman was walking towards the store when a vehicle attempted to hit her. The driver allegedly got out of his car and then chased her into the store's pharmacy, telling her to, "Go back to your country."
According to police, the pharmacist inside, who claims to have witnessed the event, intervened. That’s when the suspect took off, but police were able to identify him after releasing surveillance video to the public.
An anonymous tip led them to the alleged suspect, 61-year-old, Kevin McMahon of Rochester. He's being charged with two misdemeanor assault charges - one for what happened outside the store, the other for inside.
"They're awful. Allegations like this are very concerning," says Olmsted County attorney Mark Ostrem. He says the real question is, what set him off?
"I think that's the question we all have is, ‘what was going on in his mind?’ What really, truly motivated somebody to make comments like this?" says Ostrem.
In the complaint, McMahon admits to an officer that he followed the woman into Cub Foods and simply, "flipped out”, using "nasty words" as well as racial slurs. The complaint says McMahon's outburst came as a result of negative encounters with Somalis at work describing them as "abrasive" people.
We stopped by McMahon's home to see if he'd like to speak about the incident but he declined.
"Why don't you go away?" he said. We did, but the county attorney isn't.
"You know the United States was founded by people coming from a different country. Essentially that's what built our nation so we should continue to be a welcoming community," says Ostrem.
If convicted of both charges, McMahon could face two years in jail and $6,000 in fines. His first court appearance is November 26.