Colleen Hunt and Russell Courtier 

Colleen Hunt and Russell Courtier 

A Multnomah County Grand Jury has indicted a couple on hate crime charges for running over and killing a black teenager in Gresham.  

Russell Courtier and Colleen Hunt had already been charged with murder.

Gresham police allege that Courtier intentionally ran over 19-year-old Larnell Bruce with his car after they fought outside a 7-11. Hunt was in the car and encouraged the murder, police say.  

Now the couple faces additional charges of first degree intimidation, meaning they allegedly hurt Bruce because of his race.

Gresham police have not explained what evidence led to the new charge.

Spokesman Brandon Crate said racial bias was a factor, but not the sole factor in the murder.

“I think the public, with our different ethnicity in the city and whatnot, should feel safe,” he said.

The Portland Mercury reported in August that Courtier is a member of a white supremacist prison gang, the European Kindred, and had a long history of disciplinary violations in prison related to his participation in the hate group.  

The Mercury also reported on Facebook comments from other gang members expressing their support for Courtier after the murder.

“The European Kindred has not been around all that long, since 1998 or so, and it has developed a reputation as one of the most savage and violent gangs out there,” said Mark Potok, who monitors hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Potok says local law enforcement agencies need to listen to local communities of color and understand that the killing has likely left their communities feeling vulnerable.

“Certainly the young man was the primary victim, but so is every young black man in that community, all the people who feel they might be next,” he said.

The gang started in the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, Oregon and has spread outside the prison, primarily in Oregon but also in a handful of other western states. It has had a long presence in East Portland.

The European Kindred most often commits violence against its own members and associates, according to Potok. 

“White supremacist prison gangs are most interested in the color green. They are all about making money, dealing methamphetamine, punishing soldiers who don’t act as their superiors tell them to,” Potok said.

Courtier and Hunt have pleaded not guilty to the murder and intimidation charges.