SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Springfield police arrested a fifth suspect in the Memorial Day hate crime investigation.
A Eugene man and three teens allegedly used a pickup truck to chase a black teen in downtown Springfield.
Police arrested 19-year-old Brandon Ricker, a friend of prime suspect Matthew Booster, for allegedly hindering the prosecution and tampering with evidence.
We spoke with Ricker before his arrest, and he told us booster invited him to tag along on the drive, but Ricker decided not to go.
“Did you try and talk him out of it?” we asked.
“No. I did, yes. But not like as much as I should have I guess. I just told him it’s stupid, go back home, just play video games, watch TV, just come over and hang out with me,” Ricker said.
Those conversations between Ricker and Booster are what police say lead to Ricker’s arrest.
Captain Richard Harrison says Ricker knew about the on-going investigation, told Booster to get out of town and deleted records of calls and text messages between the two that would have been evidence in the case.
“We weren’t looking at him any other way than as a witness. And as we got statements from other people involved in the incident, his name kept coming up, and at one point it came up that he had issued that warning to our suspect,” Harrison said.
Officers say Ricker’s involvement was minimal compared to those in the truck at the time of the incident.
Harrison says the DA could drop charges against Ricker depending on his cooperation with the investigation.