Report: Assault suspect has long history of racially motivated crimes
Originally published 6-15-2020
by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office:
“On 06-11-2020 at approximately 1:23 PM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to investigate an assault that occurred at a store in the 800 block of Ford Road in Ukiah, California.
Deputies contacted a 37 year-old East Indian male who was suffering from physical effects of being sprayed with oleoresin capsicum spray (pepper spray).
After conducting a thorough investigation, Deputies determined the following in summary:
The adult male was working inside of a retail store along with a second male coworker. A white male adult entered the store wearing head and facial coverings, an unbuttoned blue collar shirt and blue jeans.
The adult male suspect was later identified as Anthony Pelfrey.
Pelfrey walked directly toward the adult male clerk (37 year-old male), who was stocking shelves behind the retail counter.
Pelfrey drew a large canister of pepper spray and deployed it, spraying the back of the adult male clerk’s head. The adult male clerk turned and ran toward the back of the store. Pelfrey pursued while spraying him several more times. After the adult male clerk successfully retreated to safety, Pelfrey ran out of the store.
Deputies were not able to identify Pelfrey at that time. However, it was learned a similar unprovoked pepper spray assault had recently occurred within the City of Ukiah.
The victim in that incident was a Hispanic male. The suspect in that case was described as a white male adult.
Based on this information, Deputies suspected the crimes may be connected and may have been racially motivated.
Video surveillance within the store (Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office 06-11-2020 case) captured the incident and provided a vague suspect description.
Deputies continued to follow up on the incident throughout the shift.
On 06-13-2020 at approximately 1100 hours, Deputies received a be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) issued by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
The BOLO identified Anthony Pelfrey as a suspect in an unprovoked pepper spray assault on an Asian couple. The assault was committed in the Bodega Bay area of Sonoma County.
Pelfrey had a listed address within the City of Ukiah and it was believed he may have returned home following that assault.
Deputies from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and Officers from the Ukiah Police Department conducted surveillance on Pelfrey’s residence. At approximately 3:15 PM, Pelfrey was contacted at his residence and taken into custody without incident. Pelfrey was transported to Sonoma County where he was booked on charges stemming from their investigation.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Detectives and the County of Mendocino Marijuana Enforcement Team responded to assist Mendocino County and Sonoma County Deputies with the service of a search warrant at Pelfrey’s residence.
Evidence related to all of the reported pepper spray assaults was located in Pelfrey’s vehicle and residence.
Based on the totality of the circumstances, it is believed the motive for the assaults was a prejudice toward the victims due to their actual or perceived ethnicity.
Investigators learned that in 2009, Pelfrey was convicted of attempted murder following an assault with a machete on two Hispanic males, which occurred in Mendocino County.
A report related to the incident within the jurisdiction of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (06-11-2020 case) has been filed with the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office for review of potential filing for the following charges:
422.7(a) PC (Violate the Civil Rights of Another, Causing Injury)
22810(g)(1) PC (Unlawful use of Tear Gas)
22810(a) PC (Felon in Possession of Tear Gas)
459 PC (Burglary With Intent to Commit a Felony)”