Gaston County Police searching for duo who attacked teen driver

Teen followed, attacked by strangers

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - A 19-year-old was followed to his home and attacked by two strangers in Gaston County. He thinks it’s because of his race, but after a second teen was targeted, police say there may be something else behind the attacks.

Gaston County police are trying to find the two people who attacked those teens. Surveillance video shows a black Jeep following the 19-year-old victim to his home. Then moments later two people hop out and the teen is attacked. This happened at the intersection of Union Terrace and Carmel Drive in Gastonia.

This all started at 2 a.m. on Sunday. Nicholas Crawford who is 19 said he had just got off work and was going home when he was followed. The guys who attacked him even bashed one of his doors in. Crawford also said the suspects are lucky, because by the time he was able to wake his mom up to get her gun, the two suspects drove away.

Crawford is glad that the moments when he was followed and then attacked were caught on camera for evidence. He wasn’t hurt but he is angry.

“I kind of look at the world in a different view now,” said Crawford.

Crawford said he was terrified and knew he was in trouble when two men jumped out of a jeep and started yelling at him for having his high beams on. Then the next thing he knew, he was forced to defend himself.

“The passenger tried to hit me and when he tried to hit me, I put my arms up so he missed and as soon as he missed, the driver grabbed me, and we started wrestling,” Crawford continued.

The car Crawford drives is a 1997 Honda. He says his headlights are hazy so they couldn’t have caused any problems for other drivers.

Even his mother, Kelly Crawford can’t believe her son was put in the middle of a scary situation.

“They could’ve done anything to my child and I could’ve been receiving a phone call that my child was dead,” said Kelly Crawford.

“It’s because I’m black. That’s how I feel,” the 29-year-old said.

Gaston County Police say the same exact thing happened down the road 15 minutes later to another teenager who is white. So race may not be a factor, but they are working to get to the bottom of why this is happening.

“We don’t know until we dig deeper into it and find out who these people are, but it has the appearance that these people were out looking for trouble,” said Gaston County Police Captain Curtis Rosselle.

Nicholas Crawford hopes this doesn’t happen to anyone else because there’s no telling how it could end.

“I could’ve got killed or they could’ve got killed,” he said.

Police say the men are out driving in a black jeep with black rims. If you’ve seen that kind of car out early Sunday morning, please give the department a call at 704-866-3397.

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