- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 27, 2015

Police in Winona, Minnesota, are searching for several suspects who allegedly attacked a teenager Monday night after he accidentally struck a 4-year-old black boy with his pickup truck.

The 18-year-old man was traveling southbound on Druey Court about 5 p.m. when he hit Damajae Winn, 4, who had gone into traffic, a local NBC affiliate reported.

“The only way they have to come home is to cross this street,” said Bill Packard, a witness to the accident, who sees young children playing in the street daily.

“I heard that noise and I turn around and I see him right there twirling and flipping and stuff,” said one neighborhood child who was playing with Damajae before the accident, NBC reported. “It was kind of scary and everyone started rushing over there and running towards him and stuff and see if he was OK.”

According to police, the driver, identified by local media only as Ryan, was attacked by a group of people upon exiting his car to check on the boy.

“There was like 10 guys already there hitting him and pulling him out of the truck and I seriously heard the first hit happen and I took off to go get my mom, because I’m like, there’s one of me and there’s 10 of them,” said Brook Schrumpf, the driver’s 13-year-old girlfriend, who was in the car at the time, NBC reported.

She said they never saw the boy until it was already too late. Faint tire marks show where she said her boyfriend slammed on the brakes, a local CBS affiliate reported.

Winona police say Ryan and the boy were taken to Winona Health with injuries not considered life-threatening.

Neighbors said racial tensions likely fueled the attack, after Ryan’s Confederate flag he had hanging from his truck was burned by neighborhood kids last month, NBC reported.

“To us that’s just a battle flag, it has nothing to do with racism,” Brook said. “I don’t even have words to explain the anger I have towards everybody right now.”

Brook and her family have plans to move out of the neighborhood as soon as possible, her mother told the station.

Neighbor Tamara Witherspoon doesn’t agree with what happened, but admitted there’s a history with the driver flying the Confederate flag in the neighborhood, CBS reported.

“They probably wouldn’t have jumped on him if he hadn’t been, you know, provoking people around here,” she told the station.

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