Bay Area college hate crime may have Valley connection

FRESNO, Calif.

All four students are charged with misdemeanor hate crime and battery. Their suspected crimes are detailed in a thick report-- and they range from racial insults to physical attacks.

No one answered the door at the Quail Lakes address that Joseph Brett Bomgardner calls home. The 18-year-old freshman at San Jose State University is among a group of white students who are accused of placing a bike lock around the neck of a black freshman student.

The University Police report says that last week, the victim returned to the suite and found a racial insult on a dry-erase board in the common area. According to the report it was a resident manager who contacted Police. Officers found Nazi symbols and were told of other pranks targeting the 17-year-old victim.

Investigators also say the group would do such things as hide the teen's shoes and post the confederate flag. All of this on the seventh floor of the freshman dorms which is a floor for engineering students.

We traced Joseph Bomgardner from Fresno County to Exeter, where he was a recent graduate of Exeter Union High School. Those that know him say he was a good student, quiet, and someone whose personality and behavior is not consistent with the charges he's facing.

In this 28 page report Bomgardner told Police that the confederate flag and other paraphernalia were jokes and that he succumbed to peer-pressure from the others, and at one point, even apologized for the incidents.

The victim's parents issued a statement, saying, "As a family, we are deeply disturbed by the horrific behaviors that have taken place against our son. Our immediate focus is his protection." One student has already turned himself in - the others are expected to do the same.

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