KEZI Exclusive: Hate Crime Suspect’s Grandfather Speaks Out

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The family of a teen who allegedly helped chase down a black teen in Springfield is speaking out about the incident.

David’s grandson is one of the three teenage suspects in the case. We’re not using his last name to protect his grandson’s identity, as he’s a minor.

David doesn’t know Matt Booster, the lead suspect who officers say was driving the truck, but he says Booster had a big influence on his minor passengers and that the victim wasn’t the only one intimidated that day.

“Were you surprised to hear that [your grandson] was caught up in something like this?” we asked.
“Yeah, I was. It really made me mad,” David said.

David says his grandson may have some racist ideas, but he never thought he would act on them like this.

“His beliefs are his beliefs, but his actions are what I don’t like,” David said.

But David says he believes his grandson’s actions weren’t his all his own that day and instead heavily influenced by Booster.

“You don’t think they would have gone and done something like this on their own?” we asked.
“No! Not at all,” David said.
“You think they did this because they were scared of Matt?” we asked.
“Oh, yes I do,” David said.

David says the kids hoped they wouldn’t be able to find the teen Booster allegedly hunted down. But when they did, David says Booster had some threatening instructions for the three minors.

“They told me he had a gun–a shotgun–and that if they didn’t take care of him, he would his way,” David said.
“What do you think that meant?” we asked.
“Well, if he already tried to hit the kid, what do you think?” David said.

David says he knows his grandson and the other teens aren’t innocent, but he feels Booster had a lot to do what happened that day.

David hopes whatever comes of this will help his grandson be the person he knows he can be.

“He’s not as bad as everyone makes him out to be,” David said.
“Do you think he will learn something from this?” we asked.
“I sure hope so. I hope it scares the dog turds out of him,” David said.

David’s grandson and the two other Springfield teenagers face intimidation and disorderly conduct charges. Their case is being handled by the Lane County Department of Youth Services.

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