Fontana man charged with hate crime in baseball bat beating

Fontana man charged with hate crime after allegedly beating man with baseball bat

A 22-year-old man was charged Wednesday with attempted murder and a hate crime after police say he beat a man in Rialto with a baseball bat out of a desire to hurt someone who is not African American.

About 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jeremiah Bell encountered 54-year-old Armando Barron and struck him several times in the head with a bat, according to Sgt. Paul Stella of the Rialto Police Department.

The attack was “unprovoked” and “anyone who was not black was a target,” Stella said.

Barron remains hospitalized in grave condition, Stella said. The attack has left him paralyzed and comatose due to extensive brain injuries, according to the criminal complaint against Bell filed by the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office.

Bell was arrested at his Fontana apartment on Monday after investigators with the Fontana Police Department, who are conducting an unrelated probe involving him, said he matched the description of the suspect in the Rialto attack, Stella said. 

He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday and is being held on $1-million bail in county jail, according to jail records.

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