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Prosecutors charge Auburn man with hate crime for allegedly threatening his neighbors

King County prosecutors have charged a 63-year-old Auburn man with malicious harassment, the state's hate crime law, for allegedly pointing a gun at his Hispanic neighbors, hurling racial insults at them and threatening to shoot them on the night of July 4.

After Thomas George Hanson's arrest, charging documents say, U.S. Capital Police notified Auburn police that he had sent 238 e-mails to Sen. Maria Cantwell, many containing profanity-filled diatribes expressing his anti-immigration views on Mexican immigrants.

According to charging documents, Hanson pointed a gun at Segrio Zapata-Zurita's family after Zapata-Zurita stepped out of his house and asked him to turn down his music. Hanson allegedly responded by throwing a bottle at Zapata-Zurita, but missed.

Later, when Zapata-Zurita's mother made the same request, he allegedly cursed at her, called her a "f-ing Mexican" and flipped her off, according to charging papers.

According to charging papers, when Zapata-Zurita, his younger brother and their stepfather stepped outside, Hanson cursed at them and went inside his trailer. He allegedly returned with a silver pistol in his hand and yelled, "Happy Fourth of July, mother --." He then allegedly pointed the pistol at Sergio and his family and threatened to shoot them.

Inside Hanson's trailer, according to charging papers, Auburn police later found six handguns and four rifles, several of them loaded.

According to court papers, Auburn Police Detective Anna Weller met with Hanson at the Auburn City Jail the next day. In her report, Weller wrote that Hanson recalled having a dispute with his Hispanic neighbors because he was sick of their "Espanoly" and "felt they were disrespecting him in his own country." But he denied displaying or threatening them with a gun.

In his e-mails, court documents say, he refers to his neighbors as a--holes and "Mexican in every way" because they refuse to speak or learn English and only socialize with their own.

Hanson was released after posting $75,000 bail on July 9. He is to be arraigned July 21 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

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