Two people were charged last Friday with the murder of Justin Peoples, a black 30-year-old Navy veteran, youth pastor and father of two, who was fatally shot and stabbed at a California gas station last Tuesday in what authorities have called an “unprovoked” hate crime.
A release from the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office said co-defendants Christina Lyn Garner, 42, and Jeremy Wayne Jones, 49, were slapped with murder charges with a special circumstance alleging Peoples was intentionally killed because of his race, color, religion, nationality or country of origin.
Another defendant, Christopher Dimenco, 58, was also arraigned on accessory charges.
The Tracy Police Department said on March 15, it responded to a call about a male subject suffering from a gunshot wound at the Chevron gas station on North Tracy Boulevard shortly after 9 p.m.
When police arrived on the scene, they found Peoples with a gunshot and multiple stab wounds. He was rushed to the San Joaquin General Hospital trauma center in critical condition and died about two hours later.
“From what we’ve gathered, it was unprovoked, and again, a senseless act of violence,” Tracy Police Chief Sekou Millington told KOVR about the murder.
Garner and Jones were arrested following an investigation which showed Jones supported white supremacist ideology. Photos released by the office of San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar reveal tattoos on Jones’ body with the words “WHITE” and “PRIDE” as well as one with an image of a skeleton hugging a swastika.
“There is no place for hate in our community. No one should be victimized because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion,” Salazar said in a statement. “These types of crimes are reprehensible and my administration will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law to hold those who perpetuate hate accountable.