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Police: 3 men arrested for pepper spraying, shouting racial slurs at kids

Posted at 10:08 AM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 14:07:53-04

Three juveniles were riding their bikes to football practice just after 3 p.m. on Thursday when three men pulled up next to them in a white Infiniti and started yelling racial slurs at them and one man pepper sprayed them. 

John Karlton Schmidt, 18, the front passenger of the vehicle, saw 2 black males (13 and 15) and 1 white male (14), riding their bikes down the sidewalk and pointed out the kids to the driver, Peter-Austin George Afentakis, 19, and the other passenger, Corey M Knous, 19. Schmidt reportedly began yelling racial slurs at the three kids and told the driver to stop the car at 62nd Street and 62nd Avenue in Pinellas Park. 

Police say Schmidt wrapped a t-shirt around his head to disguise himself from the kids as he stuck his head out the window and shouted racial slurs at the three kids. The adults briefly got into an argument with the kids and Schmidt reportedly exited the vehicle and began pepper spraying all three kids. At the same time, he continued to shout racial slurs. 

After the kids were sprayed, Schmidt got back into the car and fled the scene with the other two men in the car. Pinellas Park Police responded to the scene and they found the car in front of Schmidt's home. All three suspects were in the home and they were taken into custody. 

Afentakis and Knous were charged with principle to child abuse and Schmidt was charged with three counts of child abuse. Police say all charges will be submitted to the State Attorney's Office with a Hate Crime enhancement.