A Houston man was charged with committing a hate crime Wednesday after allegedly shouting a racial slur at a black man and trying to stab him.
James Scott Lee, a 32-year-old white man, was heard saying, “I hate n****rs, and I’m going to kill me one today,” before he charged at the victim with a knife Tuesday, Harris County prosecutors told local outlet KPRC.
The victim, who is Lee’s neighbor, fled his attacker by jumping in his car and closing the window, according to KTRK. He escaped without being injured and called the police.
At the time of his arrest, Lee also was in possession of brass knuckles, according to the outlet. He’s being charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with a “hate crime enhancement.”
During a court appearance on Wednesday, Lee denied making the racist statement.
“Are you kidding me? That’s bull! I’m a United States Army general. That’s bull, that’s a lie,” Lee said as the charges were read, according to KTRK.
Prosecutors suspect Lee may be a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas prison gang, according to the Houston Chronicle. KTRK reported that Lee wore an “SS” symbol on his vest, commonly used by white supremacists, among other military-like markings. He also has “a prior history of misdemeanor (assaulting) behavior, a domestic assault,” according to Harris County First Assistant Tom Berg.
He was being held in jail on a $250,000 bond as of Wednesday evening. If Lee is convicted of a hate crime, he could spend up to 20 years in prison.