LIVINGSTON PARISH -- A Denham Springs man with ties to the military was arrested after authorities said he committed a hate crime against a convenience store whose owners he believed were Muslim, the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office said.
Chad Horsley, 27, reportedly told investigators he blamed Muslims for "killing his fellow service members overseas."
“He was also upset that Muslims, in his mind, were having an easier time prospering than he was despite his time in the service,” Sheriff Jason Ard said in a news release.
Horsley is accused of several offenses against the convenience store on La. 1019.
Ard said Horsley first went to the store on Feb. 27 and claimed he was a police officer. Horsley reportedly said he suspected drug activity and planned to return and conduct a search.
A witness told deputies that Horsley returned Saturday, drove his truck into the store and took the ATM. When the witness tried to stop him, Horsley pulled out a gun and left the scene, Ard said.
Horsley told investigators he was an East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputy. Ard said investigators learned Horsley was a former reserve deputy.
Horsley's father, Samuel Horsley Jr., told The Advocate that his son served as an East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputy for several years beginning when he was 19. That ended, he said, when his son joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 2014.
Department of Defense records The Advocate reviewed indicate someone with Chad Horsley's name and date of birth served in the Marine Corps Reserve and was on active duty from November 2014 to August 2015, the time his dad said he was completing boot camp and other training.
A spokesperson with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office could not be reached for comment.
Stephen Horsley told The Advocate his son was honorably discharged from the military in December 2017 after he was diagnosed with liver disease and needed to receive treatment. He started working for a crane operating company most recently.
Family members noticed that Chad Horsely was more distant than usual the past few months. But his dad told The Advocate that relatives could not have predicted anything close to the recent allegations. He also noted that his son has no history of mental health diagnoses or treatment.
"I'm in shock because that's not my son," Samuel Horsley said. "He's about as far from a racist as they come. I did not raise my kids that way (but) taught them to always look at people in their heart. … He wasn't in his right mind. He must've just snapped."