Charges Dropped Against Black Pastor Leon McCray After he was Initially Arrested for Pulling Out a Gun in Self-Defense During Assault by 5 White Racists

Pastor Leon McCray and First Lady Valerie Anne McCray

A black pastor who was attacked by five racists and pulled out a gun during the incident was arrested when he called the police on his attackers. But the charges have since been dropped against him, and his white attackers have been charged with hate crimes.

Leon McCray Sr. was arrested and charged with brandishing a firearm after a June 1 incident escalated in the town of Edinburg in Shenandoah County, according to a news release from the Shenandoah County sheriff.

McCray, a 61-year-old pastor at Lighthouse Church & Marketplace Ministries International, told CNN affiliate WHSV that the trouble began when he saw a couple of people dragging a refrigerator toward the dumpsters at an apartment building he owns in Edinburg. When he approached them and requested that they leave, McCray said, they “got irate” before leaving and returning with three additional people who threatened him, using “all types of racial slurs.”

He said the group used “racial epithets and the n-word,” saying, “your Black life, your M-F Black life don’t make, it doesn’t make a difference in this country, it doesn’t make a difference to me, and we will kill you.”

McCray told WHSV, he pulled out his weapon after being surrounded by the mob and being head-butted by one man.

Amanda Salyers, Christopher Sharp, Dennis Salyers, Donny Salyers, and Farrah Salyers (left to right) were all arrested on hate crime and other charges after assaulting a black pastor in Edinburg, Virginia.

“It got to the point where this is really getting really, really bad,” he said. “I couldn’t leave, I couldn’t do anything, and with the threats, I felt to save my life, I had to draw my gun.”

Despite being the one under attack, when deputies arrived, they arrested McCray and not a single other person. Since the incident, two supervisors in the sheriff’s office have been placed on unpaid administrative leave and an administrative review has been launched into their handling of the incident, Sheriff Timothy Carter said in a video message.

After Carter met with McCray on June 3, he also met with Shenandoah Commonwealth’s Attorney who agreed to drop the charge against McCray that both felt was unwarranted.

“After talking with him about the incident, it was apparent to me that the charge of brandishing was certainly not appropriate,” Carter said. “If I were faced with similar circumstances, I would have probably done the same thing.”

“I want the people of Shenandoah County to know I and the Sheriff’s Office staff appreciate and care about the minority communities, and especially our black community, in Shenandoah County,” he said.

The five accused were taken into custody Thursday and hit with various charges including hate crime charges.

The attackers, Donny Salyers, 43, and Dennis Salyers, 26, were charged with felony abduction, assault-hate crime, assault by mob, and assault and battery. Farrah Salyers, 42, was charged with felony abduction, assault-hate crime, and assault by mob. Christopher Sharp, 57, was charged with felony abduction, assault-hate crime, assault by mob, and trespassing. Amanda Salyers, 26, was charged with assault-hate crime, assault by mob, and trespassing, reports CNN.

SOURCE: EEW Magazine Online

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